Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

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).

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Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4
Time Required: Approx 45 minutes
Skill Level: 🔪 (Easy)

Ingredients:
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

Instructions:
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.
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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.
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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.

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Garlicky Roasted Potato Wedges

This is it. The perfect side dish. The potato to complete any meat-and-potato dish you could ever dream up. Why are these potatoes so perfect, you ask? They’re super simple to make, mess-free, and packed with a buttery, garlicky taste that’s impossible to discredit. They also satisfy every kind of potato person, from those who prefer their potatoes squishy to those who prefer them crispy and browned. Keep reading below for the best roasted potato recipe in town.

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So how do you make these delicious little nuggets of Yukon Gold? Start with the potatoes, a little olive oil, some salt and pepper and garlic powder. A sheet of aluminum foil will keep the potatoes from ruining your favorite baking sheet, and then all you need to do is decide what dish you want to serve it with! My personal recommendation is the Figgy Balsamic Pork dish that I made earlier this month, but it would really go well with any meat option.

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My personal favorite trick for cutting these potatoes ensures that they’re shaped like small wedges; the the potato and cut it in half lengthwise (along the longest point of the potato). Then place each half meat-side down to prevent slippage. Cut in half again, then slice into half-inch thick pieces. Your potatoes should look roughly triangular, unless you’ve had to cut off any bad bits.

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Ingredients: (serves 3-4)
Time Required: Approx 30 minutes (5-10 minutes prep, 25 minutes cook time)
Skill Level: 🔪 (Easy)

5-6 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes
2.5 tbsp olive oil (more if your potatoes are on the large side)
1.5 tsp garlic salt (more if you prefer a strong garlic flavor)
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Turn oven on to 425 degrees.
  2. Prepare potatoes. Cut into wedges by cutting the potato in half lengthwise, then in half again (also lengthwise). Slice halves into 1/2 inch thick pieces.
  3. Place potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat. If there is not enough olive oil to satisfactorily coat all potatoes, add more, 1 tsp at a time.
  4. Place a piece of aluminum foil over a baking tray and grease sheet with olive oil or cooking spray. Add potatoes, then sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place in oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. After 10-15 minutes, remove from oven and turn potatoes over with a spatula. Return to oven for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and serve immediately!

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Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Sundried Tomatoes

Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Sundried Tomatoes

 

Brussel sprouts. I know, I know.  They’re the bane of every adolescent (and post-adolescent) traumatized by bitter bites, but the secret to great brussel sprouts is all about the preparation. A little salt, a little pepper, some olive oil and a solid roasting give them a softer, more delicate taste, and balsamic vinegar and meats like pancetta or bacon give them just tender and mouthwatering enough to convince any brussel-naysayer to join the dark side.

I’m here today to make brussel sprouts sexy again. You heard me. Sexy sprouts. An impossible mission, you say? I beg to differ. These brussel sprouts are, in short, amazing. Phenomenal. I never thought I would crave these little lumpy green not-cabbages, but this recipe has 100% changed my mind, and my dinner plate.

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So how do we make brussel sprouts great again? Cut them in half, toss them in olive oil, roast with some pancetta and then sprinkle with sundried tomatoes and drizzle them in balsamic vinegar. Boom. It’s that simple.

But really. This recipe is a favorite simply because it’s so easy, so delicious, and so flavorful. Its salty, crunchy, tangy — everything I love in a dish. The sundried tomatoes add just a touch of sweetness, and the right balsamic can make all the difference. These pair well with just about anything; I’ve made it with marinated flank steak, roasted chicken breasts, pork chops… the list goes on.

This is a great dish that traverses all seasons; its hearty enough to be enjoyed during the cold, dark winter nights, and boldly acidic enough to satisfy the desire for a tangy summer side dish.

 

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Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
Time Required: Approx 35 minutes (10 minutes prep, 25 minutes cook time)
Skill Level: 🔪 (Easy)

1 lb brussel sprouts (approx 1/3 lb per person)
1/3 lb pancetta
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare brussel sprouts! Wash, then cut the hard stems off the bottom and cut sprouts in half. Note: its ok if the outer layers peel off! Keep them to roast — they get super crunchy and delicious.
  3. Chop pancetta and set aside.
  4. Place sprouts in a large bowl and toss with olive oil. Spread over a baking sheet and salt and pepper. Add pancetta to baking sheet and roast for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, if using dry-pack sundried tomatoes, add olive oil and allow to soak while the sprouts cook. If using oil-packed tomatoes, disregard this step.
  6. Remove from oven and add sundried tomatoes. Roast for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven entirely and drizzle balsamic vinegar. Toss and serve immediately!

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