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 about 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg (or cloves, if you prefer) for a bit more spice.
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 butteriness are all these recipe needs.
Note too that we're not adding any sugar, either. Some recipes feature brown sugar, but this version is a bit more savory. The fresh sage, in particular, brings out that savory earthiness, and sweet potatoes are, let's face it, already pretty sweet.
Indeed, 1/4 cup or so of freshly grated Parmesan cheese will contribute a wonderful umami flavor that balances out the sweetness. But do use aged Parmesan that you grate yourself from a block, 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.)
- 6 medium sweet potatoes
- 1/2 stick butter, softened
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, warm
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 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 (see note below), 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 sauté 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 will be gluey. A few lumps will give the dish a decidedly rustic feel.
- Adjust seasoning with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve right away.
- Don't throw away the peels from your sweet potatoes! After you've peeled them, toss them with olive oil and salt and roast them for 15 minutes in a 400 F oven. This tasty snack is just the thing to keep your ravenous guests happy while they wait for dinner.
- Grating a cinnamon stick by hand using one of those microplane graters will take some elbow grease, but it will be infinitely more flavorful than preground cinnamon. The same is true for nutmeg.
- You can easily make this recipe vegan by substituting your favorite butter alternative for the butter and coconut milk for the cream.