In the fall, I’m all about orange veggies. Butternut squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are my go-to options, and I’m pretty sure I could eat some variation on one of them every day for months without needing a break. On Thanksgiving day you can bet I’ll be loading my plate up with a big serving of butternut squash, and I’ll probably eat a dessert that involves pumpkin too. Sweet potatoes, though, aren’t usually among the side dishes on our table. Believe it or not, I’ve never even tried the classic sweet potato casserole with toasted marshmallows on top. I’m sure I’d like it (I mean, what’s not to like about veggies loaded with sugar?), but there are always plenty of other options at Thanksgiving dinner so I’ve never missed not having it. I did give some thought to making a sweet potato casserole this year, just to cross it off my list of things I’ve never tried but someday want to. I may still make a mini version just for fun, but more than likely, I’ll run out of time and it’ll get pushed until next year.
Instead, I tried this recipe for balsamic roasted sweet potatoes, which was easy to scale and make just enough for me to try as a side dish with dinner one night recently. Roasting veggies is my favorite way to eat them, but I rarely make my sweet potatoes that way so this was a nice change of pace. Before they go in the oven, the potatoes are coated in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, butter and salt. The vinegar is reduced on the stove top until it is concentrated and syrupy – it makes this dish so flavorful! Generally when I make sweet potatoes, I just bake them in the microwave, then slice them open and top with butter and either brown sugar or maple syrup, but this recipe might become my new favorite preparation. The roasted potatoes are the perfect combination of sweet and savory, and bonus, the prep time is really minimal. This dish would be a great change of pace on your Thanksgiving menu if you’re looking to replace the sweet potato casserole this year
Roasted Balsamic Sweet Potatoes
from Bon Appetit, April 2007 (via Epicurious)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/4-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vinegar thickens and is slightly syrupy. Add the butter and salt and stir until the butter is melted and incorporated. Add the potatoes to the pan and toss to coat them with the vinegar mixture. Season the potatoes with freshly ground black pepper then transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet. Spread in a single layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and golden, stirring occasionally.