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THANKSGIVING RECIPES

Recipe: Her grandmother skipped marshmallows on sweet potatoes, but not maple syrup or brown sugar

Maple-Glazed Sweet PotatoesSally Pasley Vargas

Serves 8

Sweet potatoes are a must-have for many cooks planning the Thanksgiving menu. The debate over whether to top with marshmallows will never end, but for some grandmothers (e.g., mine), copious amounts of butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup gilded the already sweet tubers. Most markets label sweet potatoes as yams, which is a bit misleading. Yams are native to Africa and Asia. Their skins are dark brown and scaly and the flesh ranges from white to yellow interiors. Sweet potatoes, native to Central or South America, and grown in the Southern states, have skins comparable in thickness to russet potatoes (the ones you bake), and the flesh is varying shades of orange or purple. In general, most grocery stores are only selling sweet potatoes, whatever their nomenclature. Don't let the confusion hold you back. With potatoes this sweet, maybe you wouldn't need pie. But on Thanksgiving, that's just wrong. Have your sweet potatoes and eat your pie, too.

  • Butter (for the dish)

  • 5

    sweet potatoes (7- to 8-inches long)

  • 2

    teaspoons salt

  • 6

    tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 6

    tablespoons maple syrup

  • 2

    tablespoons brown sugar

  • Grated rind of 1 orange

  • 1

    teaspoon salt

  • 1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (3 1/2 quart capacity). Set a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

  • 2. Without peeling the sweet potatoes, cut them in half crosswise. In a large pot, place the potatoes and add enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Add the salt. Cover the pot and turn the heat to high. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Remove the lid and adjust the heat to a steady simmer.

  • 3. Simmer the potatoes, uncovered, for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are almost tender with slightly firm centers when pierced with the tip of a paring knife. The potatoes will cook more later. With tongs, transfer the potatoes to the cooling rack.

  • 4. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the peel. Set the potatoes cut sides down on a cutting board. Cut them lengthwise into quarters. Place them, rounded sides down, close together in the baking dish.

  • 5. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange rind, and salt. Heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the butter melts.

  • 6. Set aside 1/4 cup of the maple glaze. Use a pastry brush to coat the potatoes with the remaining glaze. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the juices bubble at the edges. Transfer the potatoes to a serving dish and drizzle with the reserved maple glaze.

Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 8

Sweet potatoes are a must-have for many cooks planning the Thanksgiving menu. The debate over whether to top with marshmallows will never end, but for some grandmothers (e.g., mine), copious amounts of butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup gilded the already sweet tubers. Most markets label sweet potatoes as yams, which is a bit misleading. Yams are native to Africa and Asia. Their skins are dark brown and scaly and the flesh ranges from white to yellow interiors. Sweet potatoes, native to Central or South America, and grown in the Southern states, have skins comparable in thickness to russet potatoes (the ones you bake), and the flesh is varying shades of orange or purple. In general, most grocery stores are only selling sweet potatoes, whatever their nomenclature. Don't let the confusion hold you back. With potatoes this sweet, maybe you wouldn't need pie. But on Thanksgiving, that's just wrong. Have your sweet potatoes and eat your pie, too.

Butter (for the dish)
5 sweet potatoes (7- to 8-inches long)
2teaspoons salt
6tablespoons unsalted butter
6tablespoons maple syrup
2tablespoons brown sugar
Grated rind of 1 orange
1teaspoon salt

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (3 1/2 quart capacity). Set a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Without peeling the sweet potatoes, cut them in half crosswise. In a large pot, place the potatoes and add enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Add the salt. Cover the pot and turn the heat to high. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Remove the lid and adjust the heat to a steady simmer.

3. Simmer the potatoes, uncovered, for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are almost tender with slightly firm centers when pierced with the tip of a paring knife. The potatoes will cook more later. With tongs, transfer the potatoes to the cooling rack.

4. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the peel. Set the potatoes cut sides down on a cutting board. Cut them lengthwise into quarters. Place them, rounded sides down, close together in the baking dish.

5. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange rind, and salt. Heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the butter melts.

6. Set aside 1/4 cup of the maple glaze. Use a pastry brush to coat the potatoes with the remaining glaze. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the juices bubble at the edges. Transfer the potatoes to a serving dish and drizzle with the reserved maple glaze.Sally Pasley Vargas


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