Sweet potatoes are an absolute staple at most Thanksgiving tables, but some of the traditional sweet potato dishes just don’t do it for me. Especially that one with the canned yams and marshmallows? Blech. Can’t stomach it. I do like mashed sweet potatoes, but when you have traditional white mashed potatoes, sometimes you want to change things up a little bit. This recipe is a perfect hybrid of a classic dish with a bit of an easy, upbeat twist. Mashed sweet potatoes are spread in a gratin dish, topped with chopped walnuts and baked, and then sprinkled with brown sugar and placed under the broiler quickly to get a sweet, crackly crust reminiscent of some of the best crème brulée.
This is a great side dish for Thanksgiving, especially because you can make the potatoes ahead of time (even the day before), then just give them a quick zap in the microwave to heat them up, mash them with the butter, season and then throw into the oven. The bake time is super short, so you could pop it in the oven as soon as the turkey comes out and you’re carving.
I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away! On Monday and Tuesday you’ll find recipes for some great (and different!) rolls and a traditional stuffing. Then make sure you check back next Friday for a great recipe to use up a lot of your leftovers!
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a gratin dish (or shallow baking dish) with some of the butter.
2. Heat the potatoes if necessary and mash them with the butter, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a dash of nutmeg. Put the sweet potatoes in the gratin dish, and smooth the top.
3. Sprinkle the top with the chopped walnuts. Bake until the dish is hot and golden on top, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Remove the dish from the oven. Sprinkle the top evenly with the brown sugar. Turn on the broiler and adjust the rack to about 4 inches from the heat source. Broil, watching carefully and turning the dish as necessary. When the sugar bubbles and browns, it's ready. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving.