Mashed sweet potatoes are a classic accompaniment for traditional holiday dishes like roasted turkey and chicken.
We use a little bit of cinnamon in this recipe, which gives it some warmth and festiveness. You can also add a tiny pinch of ground nutmeg or cloves for a bit more spice. But not both — and not too much.
You'll also notice that there are no marshmallows in this recipe. Repeat: No marshmallows! The naturally sweet flavor of the potatoes, the complex spice notes, and the rich, creamy butteryness are all these recipe needs.
Note too that we're not adding any sugar, either. Some recipes feature some non-zero amount of brown sugar, and that's fine, but this version is a bit more savory. The fresh sage, in particular, brings out the savory earthiness, and the sweet potatoes are, let's face it, already pretty sweet.
As a matter of fact, sometimes I like to add some grated fresh Parmesan cheese to this recipe because it adds a wonderful umami flavor which balances out the sweetness. But do use fresh Parmesan that you grate yourself off a block of cheese, not the stuff that comes in a shaker can.
(And the truth is that you could add a little bit of brown sugar if you wanted to. I won't tell.)
- 6 medium sweet potatoes
- ½ stick butter, softened
- ½ cup heavy cream, warm
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch of ground cloves or ground nutmeg (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water (the water should taste salty, almost like seawater) to a boil over medium heat.
- Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut them in half lengthwise, then cut each half into quarters. Each sweet potato should end up cut into eight pieces.
- When the water boils, add the cut sweet potatoes to the water and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes can easily be pierced with a knife.
- While the potatoes simmer, melt some of the butter in a small pan over medium-low and add the chopped fresh sage. Just saute it for a couple of minutes until it turns fragrant, then set it aside. This would also be a good time to warm up the cream.
- Drain the sweet potatoes and return to the pot. Add the sage butter plus the remaining butter, along with the warm cream and the spices, and mash lightly with a potato masher. Don't go crazy with the masher, or the potatoes can become gluey. Besides, I think a few lumps give the dish a decidedly rustic feel.
- Adjust seasoning with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve right away.
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