Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Citrus Whipped Sweet Potatoes - a Vintage #RecipeRedux

I love a good baked sweet potato. I'll gladly have one in it's "jacket" any day of the week, but I hate the "traditional" recipes for mashed, whipped, pureed, gratinéed, marshmallow-topped or what-have-you versions of what should, technically, be a rather nutritious side dish. Most of the older recipes, like the one below, contain needless amounts of fat (usually via butter and/or cream) and sugar, some are high in salt, and none of them, in my opinion, taste that good. If I'm going to eat a sweet potato, I'm eating it because I like the flavour of sweet potatoes, not butter and sugar. Besides, adding all that excess to the vegetable negates any sort of good you'd get out of them in the first place, and as a society we all need to learn to live a more "whole" life with less adulterated food.

So this is my dad's girlfriend Martha's recipe for her favourite "holiday" sweet potatoes. At 350 calories, 17.5 grams of fat and 50 grams of carbohydrates per serving, it had better only be on the menu once in a blue moon! Keep in mind that this is a side dish, meaning that when it's served, it's alongside buttered peas and carrots, dinner rolls and a large hunk of roasted meat!

Mashed Silky Sweet Potatoes
serves 4
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tbsp salt
pinch cinnamon

Before adding the green onion and parsley... oops!
While I'm pretty much a purist when it comes to my vegetable dishes (a throwback to the fact that most accoutrements I can't eat), I appreciate that not everybody can deal with "naked" sides. I devised this "redux" of Martha's sweet potatoes during my grandmother's birthday party with the help of my great aunt, a fantastic cook in her own right. Firstly, roasting the cubes of potato instead of the original "boil to death" method preserves more nutrients and concentrates the naturally sweet flavour  of the tubers. A touch of olive oil and blood orange juice replaces the butter and cream, and the whole dish gets a wallop of flavour from garlic both roasted alongside the cubes and minced fresh into the mix with a green onion. Fresh parsley, black pepper and a dash of salt finished up the side, which I pureed in a food processor for presentation (though my personal preference, if I have to have mashed sweets, is skin on and lumpy). They were a hit with everyone at the party - even the kids - and I even heard comments lauding the "lightness" and "flavour" of the dish!

Citrus Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Serves 6
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
12 cloves garlic, peeled, divided
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 large blood orange
zest of 1/2 large blood orange
1 large green onion, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Spread the sweet potatoes and 10 whole cloves of garlic out in a single layer and mist with spray oil.
  3. Roast 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice halfway through.
  4. Remove from the oven and place into a food processor with remaining garlic, oil, orange juice and zest, green onion, parsley, salt and pepper.
  5. Process until smooth.
  6. Serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 173.5
Total Fat: 2.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 88.0 mg
Total Carbs: 36.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.8 g
Protein: 2.9 g

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