Recipe: Grandma’s Sweet Potatoes
Editor’s Note: We asked our contributors to share their favorite family recipes for Thanksgiving, and Kara Suzanne sent her Grandma’s Sweet Potatoes. Thanks, Kara! We’ll be posting a lot of holiday recipes over the next two weeks, so stay tuned!
One of the best parts of my grandma’s holiday meals was always her candied sweet potatoes. This recipe has been passed down from mother to daughter in our family for several generations. I hadn’t realized how nutritious sweet potatoes and butter were together until I started my nutritional education odyssey. Now it’s a staple at our house, only adding the sugar on special occasions.
Sweet potatoes and yams are a great source of vitamin C, niacin, iron, potassium, vitamin B6 and magnesium. There’s no vegetable higher in betacarotene, which is convertible to Vitamin A, protecting us from colds, infections, cancer and other diseases. However our bodies can only convert carotene to vitamin A in the presence of bile salts, so it’s important to eat them with butter, egg yolks or cream. These fats stimulate the secretion of bile and thus the conversion to Vitamin A. Um, ok. Twist my arm will you!
I love this recipe because, although it takes time to brown the sweet potato “dollars” individually in butter, there are only 4 ingredients (not including the love) All ingredients are real food, meaning you could ideally source it all from a farm. There are no man-made substances or industrial waste by-products that can’t be pronounced involved. Consequently there are no marshmallows in this recipe.
However our bodies can only convert carotene to vitamin A in the presence of bile salts, so it’s important to eat them with butter, egg yolks or cream. These fats stimulate the secretion of bile and thus the conversion to Vitamin A. Um, ok. Twist my arm will you!”
When I moved to the East Coast I couldn’t find the sweet potatoes we always used in Oregon but any type yams work. Sometimes I’ve used several different kinds, which adds a variety of flavor. Also grass-fed butter and Rapadura brown sugar, which is the unprocessed brown sugar straight from the cane, yield best results, but conventional ingredients work too.
The success of this recipe is to get some dark, almost burned bits going when you’re browning the potatoes in butter. You really can’t go wrong. The burned bits seem to enhance the butter/maple syrup/sugar flavors.
Serves 4 - 6
Grandma’s Sweet Potatoes
3-4 sweet potatoes or yams
1 ½ sticks or ¾ a cup of butter from grass-fed cows
1/2 cup of real maple syrup
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar or Rapadura
salt and pepper to taste
Wash & peel sweet potatoes , wrap in foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until soft but not falling apart. Cool. (this can be done night before)
Once the potatoes are soft and cool, peel off the skins. Slice into ¾ to 1 inch dollars/discs.
A cast iron skillet works best, work in batches or use two skillets at once, melt butter until bubbling. Place discs in pan with butter. Cook until brown and slightly dark. With tongs flip and brown on other side until they are dark and browned depending on taste. Pour maple syrup over browned sweet potato discs until bubbly about 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar over. Stir around, potatoes will break apart, let simmer on stove until caramelized. Salt & pepper to taste. Place in 9 x 13 baking dish for easy reheat or to keep warm in oven.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Tell us in the comments and we’ll share it.
Photo Credit: Staci Strauss
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