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Maple-Orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Orange Butter

Maple-Orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Orange Butter
It's hard for me to believe that there was a time when I didn't like sweet potatoes. Much like cranberry sauce, I only saw them once a year—on the Thanksgiving table. As was the fashion, they smooshed up in a casserole dish and topped with marshmallows. I think there was also brown sugar or something added to the sweet potatoes themselves. Bleck! They were so ridiculously sweet that I just couldn't stomach them.

I'd always give them a little nibble...because I really wanted to like them. So until I was in my 20's, I thought that I didn't like sweet potatoes. Turns out, I just didn't like that sweet potato casserole. One day, while planning what I wanted to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner that year (pretty much everything), I found a recipe in a magazine that used half sweet potatoes and half white potatoes. I can't remember which magazine it was, but that recipe changed my life.
Maple-Orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Orange Butter
When I slid that first tentative spoonful into my mouth, I realized that I actually did like sweet potatoes. As a matter of fact, I kind of loved them. This was that recipe, only slightly changed over the many years since. I use a mix of sweet potatoes and Yukon Golds instead of Russets now and changed the seasoning a bit, but it was near perfect as written.

And guess what? I don't even mind sticking a few marshmallows on top anymore since the potatoes themselves aren't sickly sweet.

Maple-Orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Orange Butter
This is the dish that will turn sweet potato haters into sweet potato lovers!
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Maple-Orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Orange Butter
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Keywords: side vegetarian sweet potatoes maple syrup orange Thanksgiving American fall

Ingredients (serves 12)
    for the orange butter:
    • 2 ounces (1/4 cup / 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at soft room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
    • big pinch of fine sea salt
    for the maple-orange sweet potatoes:
    • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
    • 1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks (peel if you wish)
    • 2 ounces (1/4 cup / 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at soft room temperature
    • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
    Instructions
    make the orange butter:
    Stir the butter, orange zest, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Put into a small dish or a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll into a log; refrigerate.

    Bring to room temperature before using. Can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a few days, or freeze for longer.

    make the mashers:
    Combine both types of potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by an inch. Bring to a boil and cook until they are just tender, 12-15 minutes; drain. Return them to the same pot set over low heat until the potatoes are dry, about 5 minutes.

    Mash the potatoes until they are slightly chunky—you can do this by hand with a potato masher or you can use a hand-mixer. Add the butter, orange juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper to the pot, mashing and mixing until combined.

    Serve potatoes warm, each serving topped with a pat of the orange butter.
    Maple-Orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Orange Butter
    Don't even get me started on the first time I made (and tasted) a roasted sweet potato...