Bon Appetit (November 2012)
This is our favorite kind of Thanksgiving side dish: comforting, familiar flavors with an excellent twist. Actually, it has two excellent twists, from two secret ingredients.
Let's break it down by components.
Roasted sweet potatoes: We eat them all the time (including for two meals in the last week, one of which was our go-to Fajita Sweet Potatoes). They get crispy and caramelized on the outside and creamy on the inside. You can't beat 'em.
Bourbon and Maple Glaze: This glaze ... oh, lordy, this glaze. It is something else. It's the kind of sauce you want to eat on everything. We had some leftovers from our Fakesgiving. We've eaten it on oatmeal, stirred it into Greek yogurt and spooned it over grilled meats and other vegetables. It is divine.
Secret Ingredient #1: Chopped Smoked Almonds: They're nothing other than smoked almonds right out of a can, chopped with a knife. But they are amazing when combined with the sweet potatoes and glaze. It's a nice bit of salty crunch against all the sweetness of this dish.
Secret Ingredient #2: Coffee: The moment we read there was coffee in the glaze for this recipe -- a full 1 1/2 cups of it! -- we were sold. The coffee adds a welcome bitterness that cuts through the sweetness of the potatoes and the maple. It is heavenly. Bon Appétit notes that this coffee-based glaze was inspired by Southern red-eye gravy. How can you not want that on your Thanksgiving table??
This happened to be Zach's favorite dish of our Fakesgiving meal. If you make it, be sure to serve all the potatoes on a single layer, so they all get a nice coating of the glaze.
Wait, what are we saying? If you make it? When you make it.
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INGREDIENTS1 1/2 cups strong hot coffee
9 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/3 cup bourbon
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled, cut into 2 1/2-inch–3-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped smoked almonds (or toasted almonds)
Stir coffee, maple syrup, sugar, and espresso powder in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil; cook until thickened and reduced by half, 6-7 minutes.
Remove syrup from heat; add bourbon and 2 tablespoons butter. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is reduced to about 3/4 cup, 40-45 minutes (mixture should be thick enough to coat a spoon, but not sticky, and will thicken as it cools). Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm before serving.
Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°. Melt remaining 7 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan; pour into a large bowl. Add sweet potatoes and oil and season with salt and pepper.
Divide potato mixture between 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast, turning potatoes often and rotating sheets halfway through, until potatoes are tender and start to turn golden brown and crisp around the edges, 30-35 minutes. DO AHEAD Potatoes can be roasted 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm before continuing.
Transfer potatoes to a serving platter. Drizzle some warm sauce over and sprinkle with almonds; serve remaining sauce along-side for those who want more.