What’s Cooking: Sweet Potato Mash

(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

I love sweet potatoes and not just at Thanksgiving. I like them baked, boiled and mashed and dipped in tempura batter and fried. They are great in breads and baked desserts. They are very nutritional, an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of potassium and vitamin C, B6, riboflavin, copper, pantothetic acid and folic acid. Sweet potatoes are native to Central America, grown in the Southern US states since the 16th century and are in the same family of plants as Morning Glories. The plant is a trailing vine with a large tuberous root.

Sweet Potatoes are often confused with yams which are native to Africa and relate to lilies and grasses. Even though they are both flowering plants, botanically they are different.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’ Unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes!

A couple of Thanksgivings ago, my daughter decided to ditch the “traditional” candied version topped with marshmallow that would put a normal person into a diabetic coma and went “surfing” for something different. The recipe she found now makes it to our table more often than once a year. It is still sweet but not overwhelming. It’s great served as a side with pork or ham, as well as turkey. Nummy as a midnight snack with a little whipped cream, too.

Bourbon-Walnut Sweet Potato Mash


   4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes

   1/2 cup whipping cream

   6 tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter

   1/4 cup pure maple syrup

   2 tablespoons bourbon

   1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

   1 teaspoon ground allspice

   3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

   1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped


Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast potatoes on rimmed baking sheet until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly. Scoop flesh into large bowl; discard skins. Mash hot potatoes until coarse puree forms.

Heat cream and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir hot cream mixture into hot potatoes. Stir in syrup, bourbon, and all spices. Season with salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm in microwave. Sprinkle nuts over and serve.


Skip to comment form

    • TMC on April 16, 2011 at 7:36 pm
    • RiaD on April 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    that looks fabulous


  1. sweet potatoes, except to undercook them.

    Day in and day out, I prefer them baked (in foil to keep them moist), then just a little butter and salt.  Wonderful!  But sometimes they do not seem to be so, well, sweet.

    Here is a tidbit of information that will be in my upcoming cooking book (NOT a recipe book).  Sweet potatoes store most of their sugar as starch, and cooking them hydrolyzes the starch back to sugar, but there is a trick.  It turns out the enzyme that converts the starch back to sugar is inactivated at around 170 degrees F, give or take.  To assure that yours are sweet, start them slowly in the oven, at 300 degrees (275 is better if you have time) for half an hour (45 minutes at 275), then crank it up to 400 to finish them.

    This allows the heat to penetrate them slowly, so that the enzyme gets a chance to convert the starch back to sugar before it is “cooked”.  Since using this protocol, I have NEVER had one to come out that was not sweet.

    You have to use a different approach if you “boil” them.  Since the heat transfer is much more efficient with water, just scrub your sweet potatoes (do not peel) and put them, whole into cool water in a vessel large enough to accommodate however many you want.  Bring up the water temperature to about 150 degrees F (use a thermometer), and allow it to remain there for an hour or so.  Then go ahead and crank it up and cook until they are soft.  NEVER cut them first, because all that does is allow the sugar to be lost to the water, and the same goes for peeling them.

    I think that if you incorporate these ideas into your sweet potato preparation schemes that you will like the final product even more than you do now.

    Warmest regards,


  2. in food, other than, on rare occasion, a sweet and sour dish.

    I’m not much of a sweet potatoe fan, although, I know they are very healthy for us.  

    When I do have them.  I bake them in their skins.  Remove them and their skins and scoop out the pulp to a deep dish and mash them, add salt and pepper, a little butter and sour cream, mix together and I’m happy!

Comments have been disabled.