Let’s be honest – sides are arguably the best part of Thanksgiving. Yeah yeah, we love the family time, we love the pies, but the SIDES! We’ve got the sweet potatoes, the stuffing (coming soon), the cranberry sauce (also coming soon), the roasted veggies (yes, coming soon). You get the point. Every single one of them is delicious. So today, I’m sharing this spicy mashed sweet potato recipe, a family tradition at every one of my childhood Thanksgivings growing up.
Now, before you read the ingredients, let me make a disclaimer – they’re weird. You’re probably going to read them and initially think I’m insane, but somehow, they all play off of each other extremely well. The maple syrup adds a sweet touch to counteract the spice of the jalapeños, while the orange flavor compliments the ginger’s fresh bite. The brandy / cognac is optional, but really brings in this deep, rich sense of warmth that balances out the lightness of the sweet potatoes. Don’t knock it til ya try it, kids!
5-6 sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 orange (alt: 1/4 cup orange juice)
Zest of 1 orange
1 inch fresh ginger
1/2 fresh jalapeño, chopped
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 cup brandy / cognac (optional, but recommended!)
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F
2. Wash sweet potatoes, cut them in half, and stab with a fork in a few different places
3. Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil, place them on a baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes, or until soft
4. While sweet potatoes are cooking, prep your “sauce”
5. In a large saucepan, add olive oil and ginger, and cook until fragrant
6. Add orange juice, orange zest, maple syrup, jalapeño, and brandy
7. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, and then set aside
8. Once sweet potatoes are done cooking, mash them with a fork or potato masher (or a stand mixer, if you’re fancy)
9. Mix in the sauce, and place the mash in a serving dish
10. For best results, pop in the oven at 350˚ for another 20 minutes, uncovered
11. Remove from oven, top with candied pecans, and enjoy!