I like to have mashed potatoes with Thanksgiving dinner because they go so well with turkey gravy – and when you have good gravy it’s a shame not to use up as much of it as possible. Sometimes, as an alternative, I like to make sweet potatoes instead. Not only do they add a totally different flavor to the meal, but they add a ton of color to what might otherwise be a bland-looking (turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, etc.) dinner plate.
Mashed sweet potatoes have a great texture and are very easy to make. Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes don’t turn into a gluey mess if they are pureed until very, very smooth. This means that you can use the food processor to blend these without fear and end up with a silky mash at the dinner table. In fact, the potatoes are so smooth on their own that I don’t typically add butter into the mixture when I’m pureeing them; I just use butter to top them off before serving.
In this case, I used a compound maple butter. This can be made in advance by softening butter, then whipping it up with a few tablespoons of maple syrup and a pinch of salt. The maple flavor really goes well with the sweet potatoes. It also is a great topping for cornbread, rolls or whatever else you like to serve on the side of your holiday meal.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Butter
2 1/2-3 lbs sweet potatoes (6 medium)
1 cup milk (any kind)
salt and pepper
maple butter, to serve
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.
Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Add potatoes to boiling water.
Cook potatoes until very tender, about 20 minutes (depending on size of potatoes), then drain potatoes and return to pan. Lightly mash potatoes with milk, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Transfer potatoes in small batches to the food processor and puree until very smooth. Leave a vent at the top of the processor (usually on the lid) open to allow steam to escape. Transfer potatoes to serving dish.
Top with a pat of maple butter and serve with more on the side.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and beat until smooth and fluffy. Transfer butter to a 6-oz ramekin and chill until ready to serve.