Even though we’re stretching our claws into spring, Denver has had a few lingering, chilly days that remind me that it is still firmly winter for another few weeks. And what better way to take advantage of winter weather than to enjoy some oven-baked, mapley, gooey-in-a-good-way maple mashed sweet potatoes? There isn’t one, I promise.
These are one of my favorite go-to side dishes, partly because they taste and sound like they’re far more complex than they really are. These aren’t exactly healthy, but they are rich, buttery, creamy and delicate in spite of the fact that they could err on the side of heavy. The richness of the potatoes paired with the natural sweetness of the maple syrup and the balancing lipidity of the heavy cream and butter make this an incredibly satisfying side dish, and one that you’ll want to eat all year round.
I served these tonight to go with my figgy balsamic and rosemary pork tenderloin, but they really go well with most lighter meats, especially roasted chicken. I also love them all on their own — its like cheating and getting to eat dessert first, but also with vegetables. And heavy cream, butter and maple syrup, but who’s counting? Sometimes you need food that will nourish your soul rather than your trim waistline, and that’s OK. (This is also how I feel about poutine. I use this to justify probably too much in life, but do as I say, not as I do).
Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Time Required: Approx 45 minutes
Skill Level: 🔪 (Easy)
3-4 medium sweet potatoes or yams
4 tbsp maple syrup, preferably grade B (more to taste — I tend to like mine extra sweet)
1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
3 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Wash potatoes, then place on foil-covered baking sheet and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and pierceable with a fork.
2) Approximately 5 minutes before removing potatoes from oven, add butter and heavy whipping cream to a small saucepan and heat over low heat. Once mixture is heated through and all butter has melted, add the maple syrup.
3) Heat until bubbling and well-combined, stirring occasionally.
4) Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool for several minutes. Peel and add to a large mixing bowl. Mash very slightly with a fork until potatoes are flattened, but chunky and not totally mashed.
5) Slowly add half & half/butter/maple syrup mixture to the potatoes, mashing as you go. Continue adding until potatoes become creamy, but not too liquid. (Hint: taste testing is the best route here. You won’t regret it).
6) If potatoes aren’t as sweet as you would like, add more maple syrup, a few teaspoons at a time. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and give a final, thorough mashing.
7) Serve with your favorite mains! This dish is great because it can be prepared in advance, and it keeps well in the fridge.