Sweet Potatoes with Sage Butter Crumb Topping
I’ll admit I have never been a huge fan of sweet potatoes myself. I have found a few ways that I do consider them edible, but the bottom line is that they will probably never be a favorite food of my own. However, I know that lots of people are crazy about them and they are a very popular side dish, so I wouldn’t think of hosting Thanksgiving without serving them. I know a lot of people like to serve them with a sweeter topping like brown sugar or marshmallows but I prefer the savory route, so I tried this version with a sage butter crumb topping. It was a really big hit and several of the guests declared it as their favorite dish of the whole meal. Even I thought they were decent, so I guess that’s saying something.
Of course, looking at the recipe again, I am reminded that the potato puree can be made up to two days in advance and topped with the bread crumb mixture just before baking. I’ll have to add that to my advance prep timeline!
Yield: 6-8 servings
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1-2½ tbsp. minced fresh sage, divided
1½ cups warm milk
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Combine the sweet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes in a large stockpot. Cover with water, season with salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to boil until the potatoes are tender, 10-14 minutes. Drain well and mash potatoes with a ricer or an electric mixer. In a saucepan, melt 8 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in 1-2 tablespoons of the sage. (I prefer to go a little light on the sage.) Mix the sage-butter mixture and the warm milk into the potatoes; mix well to blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a 2-quart casserole dish. At this point, the potato mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375˚ F. In a small bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Mix in the remaining ½ tablespoon of sage and the bread crumbs; season with salt and pepper. Toss well to combine. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the sweet potato mixture. Bake uncovered until golden brown and bubbling, 30-40 minutes. (Cover loosely with foil earlier if breadcrumbs brown too quickly.) Serve warm.