Sweet Potato is my favorite of all the spuds out there. This is quite funny because, as a child, I was not too fond of Batatas, the sweet potatoes we have in Puerto Rico. Although the batatas I was fed as a child were very different from the sweet potatoes I eat now, the American Sweet Potato has won my heart. I enjoy eating it fried, baked, boiled, and in the case of this recipe, as an almost souffle.
My first time eating sweet potatoes here in the United States, I was reluctant because I never quite liked their Puerto Rican cousin, so I didn't want to recreate the experience. But, courageously, I tasted this fantastic tuber and was won over. It was a baked sweet potato with all the candy-making goodness we could stuff it with, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Maybe that was why I loved it; it was a personal size pie. I followed my baked sweet potato experience a few months later with a sweet potato casserole during Thanksgiving. Again, dressed in brown sugar, cinnamon, lots of butter, and this time toasted marshmallows and pecans. Amazing! "I'll have a little bit of dried-up turkey breast with a ton of this dessert pretending to be a side dish, please!" It was heaven! Since then, I have substituted potatoes with sweet potatoes whenever possible.
Being one with my sweet potato
Then, a couple of children and many pounds later, I decided to exercise and eat healthier. So I began to strip my sweet potato from all the candy-making toppings, and every time I started to eat it as close to what nature intended. I found many great qualities in this delicious tuber, so it was one of the few items I did not necessarily "ban" from my diet. It's a great source of vitamins C and A, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and many more. Click here to learn more about the health benefits of sweet potatoes.
Removing all the extra sugar was a bit scary. The last time I ate a stewed batata, the verdict was not favorable. I didn't want to ruin something I had come to enjoy so much. But I realized that the health benefits out weight the calorie-dense pleasures. so I baked the potato and tasted it without adding anything. My love rekindled. The sweet potato is sweet enough to stand on its own. It does not need extra sugar or lots of butter. The potato is delicious and has become how I have eaten it for the last few years. With or without a "diet."
Simplifying the Sweet Potato Casserole
I wanted to keep this casserole very basic and straightforward. You can add extra brown sugar, marshmallows, and pecans, but this works very well for me. I added one whole egg and milk and whipped the potatoes until fluffy. This gave the dish an airy texture and softness, similar to a souffle. I do not want to call this casserole a souffle because the measurements are not based on a souffle. The hope was to recreate the texture, which I did. The dish also has a delicately crisp top, which adds to the eating experience.
I will confess there is a small amount of brown sugar in this recipe, 1 tablespoon worth because I added the egg and milk. Let me explain; sometimes, we need to adjust the flavors that naturally occur in some ingredients, such as sweet potato. If I do not add sugar to the casserole, the milk and egg could neutralize the sweetness of the sweet potato. I am not saying the dish will not be sweet, but if we want the sweetness to be at the forefront, adding the brown sugar will enhance it without overpowering it.
This recipe goes well with . . .
sweet potato casserole
- 2 large Sweet Potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup of milk I prefer heavy cream but didn't have it available.
- a pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray or brush oil inside casserole, set a side.
- Boil the sweet potatoes until fork tender and soft. About 20 minutes
- Drain the potatoes and place them in a mixing bowl. Option to mash the potatoes by hand with a hand masher, or you could whip the potatoes with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer.
- Add egg, heavy cream, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Whip together until potatoes look fluffy.
- Spoon potato mix into pregreased casserole. Option to smooth potatoes flat or allow for peaks and valleys to form.
- Place casserole in oven for about 20 minutes or until casserole reaches an internal temperature of 165°. Remove from oven and serve