I promised when I started this blog to review all kinds of recipes, not just the paleo/primal ones. Until now, I have not help that promise, but hopefully this review makes up for it! A recent meeting of the cookbook club David and I belong to provided a great excuse to step outside my culinary comfort zone and try something new. The dinner was a Halloween themed Friendsgiving (attempting to celebrate two holidays in one night), where we all picked a recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.
Keeping Kosher always narrows down the choices, but a number of recipes fit the bill. However, since Thanksgiving was (still is) right around the corner, I landed on Soul Sweet 'Taters in hopes of finding a new way of cooking sweet potatoes for future holiday meals. Ree, the creator/cook behind The Pioneer Woman, learned this recipe from her mother and aunt, who served it as a Thanksgiving side dish, however, admits it more closely resembles a dessert. I happen to agree with Ree, but you can decide for yourself where it belongs on your holiday menu.
The full recipe can be found here.
For those of you who have followed me since the beginning, you may notice I start each recipe by gathering my ingredients. I am not a naturally organized baker; I grab ingredients as I need them, but starting with everything I need on the table helps create a less chaotic process. As in previous recipes, I made a choice to swap some ingredients (almond milk instead of cows milk). Unlike previous recipes, however, the decision to make this swap was not to keep it Kosher, but rather because I already had almond milk at home (and rarely use regular milk).
First, I cooked the sweet potatoes. The recipe suggests baking them in the oven, but I prefer the microwave method, which only takes a few minutes. If you have not tried this way of quickly cooking potatoes before, get ready for a life-changing suggestion. Simply prepare the potatoes by rinsing them off and poking some holes, and then wrap each one individually in plastic wrap. Make sure not to wrap them too tightly so the steam from cooking has room to escape. Place 1-2 potatoes in the microwave at a time, cook for 3-5 minutes (depending on the size of the potato), and voila!
Once the potatoes cool, cut them in half length-wise, and scoop out the middle into a large bowl. This step proved more difficult than expected, so I ended up with some potato skins in my bowl. I happen to love potato skins, so in the future, may include them anyways.
I easily assembled the sweet potato mix by adding the rest of the ingredients; sugar, almond milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt, to the bowl. The recipe calls for an entire cup of sugar. Half-way through pouring the sugar into the bowl, I stopped, realizing an entire cup would make this dish much too sweet for my taste. I would recommend doing the same; the dish did not suffer in my opinion.
Mix it all together (I used an electric hand mixer), and you should end up with something like this:
Don't be alarmed by the soupy consistency, during the baking process it firms up, likely due to the eggs.
Once I finished the mix, I moved on to the crumble topping, essentially a delicious concoction of brown sugar, flour, butter, and pecans. The Pioneer Woman used a pastry cutter to assist in combining all of the ingredients. I do not have this tool in my kitchen, so I used my hand to break up the butter, which required more arm strength than I expected. It takes a few minutes for the butter to absorb the dry ingredients; just remain patient.
The final step is to gently spread the crumble on top of the sweet potato. I ended up with a little crumble left, which I threw away, but you could easily keep for a few days to use in another recipe, or cook it in a separate dish to sprinkle on yogurt, just like granola.
The dish bakes in the oven for about 30 minutes, and comes out smelling amazing, I promise.
The Pioneer Woman did not disappoint. If you are searching for a last minute Thanksgiving recipe, give this one a try! You most likely have many of the ingredients already in your kitchen, and it only requires 45 minutes of your time from start to finish.
Ree's instructions are clear, and she provides both a written and pictorial list of steps = bonus points. The final product mostly met my expectations, however, it was much sweeter than anticipated, even after she warned it could also be served as a dessert (which I recommend). If you would like to serve this as a true side dish, it would be worth attempting without adding any sugar to the sweet potatoes. I am not sure how this would affect the chemistry of the recipe, so please test it prior to making your friends and family eat it, unless you don't like them.
Soul Sweet 'Taters from The Pioneer Woman
Clarity of Instructions: ✭✭✭✭
Met Expectations: ✭✭✭
Each category is ranked from 1-4 stars.
Walking enthusiast, kitchen experimenter, sports lover (watching, not playing), and future world traveler.
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