The older I get, the faster time seems to pass by. As work continues to take over my life, I live week by week, planning only as far as the upcoming Saturday. Looking at my calendar, I can't believe Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away! Like many others, Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays. The endless feasts combined with the company of friends and loved ones is truly a special time. As a chef, the first question that pops into my mind is, "What should I put on the menu?" Always looking for new dishes, I decided to up my game on traditional side dishes including mashed sweet potatoes. Inspired by sticky toffee pudding, I decided to top brown butter sweet potatoes with a sticky pecan topping. Bring this to your next potluck and I promise you, everyone will be impressed.
Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Sticky Pecan Topping
- 6 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ cup butter
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dark molasses
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- ⅓ cup chopped toasted pecans
- Place cut sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Season the water with salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork.
- Meanwhile, prepare the brown butter. Melt butter in a sauce-pan over medium-low heat. Continue to cook the butter until it begins to foam. Cook 2-3 more minutes or until butter turns brown, stirring occasionally. Add sage and cook 30 more seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Drain potatoes and mash with masher. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Add butter and ½ teaspoon cinnamon and mix until well combined.
- Prepare sticky pecan topping. Heat ½ teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, molasses and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in pecans. Drizzle topping over sweet potatoes. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Brown butter and sage go in hand in hand and can be used for almost every dish. I've used it as a sauce for gnocchi, seafood, and vegetable side dishes including these mashed sweet potatoes. The nutty flavor that comes from the butter adds another flavor element to the potatoes, complementing the sweetness of the dish.
Now how do you make brown butter? It's actually very simple. First, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low melt. Let the butter foam, cooking out the water. A couple of minutes later and watch as it turns from gold to brown. Add the sage and there you have it, folks!
Mix the butter and cream in the cooked mashed sweet potatoes and stir until the potatoes have absorbed the mixture. Meanwhile, prepare the pecan topping. Just like the brown butter, the pecan topping only takes a couple of minutes. Heat the maple syrup, molasses, and vinegar to a boil and cook until slightly thickened. Stir in chopped toasted pecans and drizzle the topping over the mashed potatoes.
Garnish with fried sage if desired and serve immediately. These brown butter sweet mashed potatoes with sticky pecan topping are everything and more! The deep flavor of the molasses paired with the nutty brown butter and creamy sweet potatoes is just perfection. Now on to planning the rest of the menu...
For more side dish inspiration check out this savory pear gratin with prosciutto gruyere breadcrumbs!