Roasted Curried-Vanilla Sweet Potatoes

By • November 2, 2012 • 14 Comments



Author Notes: If you’re looking for a new twist on sweet potatoes, you owe it to yourself to give this a try. It was a real eye opener to me. I had always been one to kind of sneer at savory uses of vanilla, thinking it best to leave well enough alone and let vanilla work its magic in sweets. But after stumbling across a recipe for Curried Duck with Vanilla in the Washington Post from Andreas Viestad, who noted that "when the sweet flavors of vanilla interact with curry powder, both ingredients are transformed,” I was wholly intrigued. As much as I love duck, I decided to take a much simpler approach and try out this flavor combination with roasted sweet potatoes and shallots. I’m a sucker for sweet potatoes this time of year, and I thought they’d play well with the sweet-spicy notes of the vanilla and curry. To round out the flavors, I tossed the sweet potatoes with nutty browned butter and fresh thyme. The smell of them roasting was intoxicating, and the taste even more so. The flavors are familiar yet exotic -- quietly comforting yet attention grabbing. I’ll be making this dish a lot this holiday season -- and needless to say, I’m happy to have been proven so wrong about vanilla. For a simple variation, throw in a few handfuls of spinach before serving, letting the residual heat wilt the leaves. EmilyC

Food52 Review: Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that vanilla and curry would be such a lovely pair. EmilyC has created a magical combination -- the aroma when the curry, vanilla, and thyme hit the browned butter is so good it could be marketed. The flavors complement the natural sugars in the roasted sweet potatoes without entering into saccharine territory. I served it once with roast chicken and once with pork -- yes, I've made it twice already! If you are a fan of sweet potatoes this dish definitely deserves a spot on your table.hardlikearmour

Serves 2

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon mild (sweet) curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (about 3 inches in length), split lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a sauté pan over medium heat, cook the butter until it turns brown and nutty, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, and add the curry powder, seeds from vanilla bean, and thyme to the browned butter. Mix well, then add the sweet potatoes and shallots, tossing well so they're evenly coated with the browned butter. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Transfer to a roasting pan, large enough that the sweet potatoes and shallots are in a single layer. Roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and caramelized. After about 20 minutes, toss the potatoes with a spatula to make sure they’re coated evenly with the browned butter. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
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Stringio

almost 2 years ago DianneD

Wonderful use of sweet potatoes for a savory dish. I used two sweet potatoes for a total of 3 1/2 pounds and doubled the other ingredients. This made enough for 6 portions. My potatoes also need much more time to get soft.

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks DianneD! So happy you tried and liked it -- thanks for letting me know!

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almost 2 years ago gingerroot

I bet this smells heavenly. Can't wait to try this, EmilyC!

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks gingerroot! It does smell heavenly and for very little work! : )

Steve_dunn02

almost 2 years ago Oui, Chef

I am SO making this dish, I adore sweet potatoes and am always looking for new ways to cook them.

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks, Steve, I hope you try them! I adore sweet potatoes, too, and this is my new favorite way to prepare them.

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almost 2 years ago lapadia

A wonderful sweet potato twist, I am always looking for one, thanks for sharing!

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks lapadia! Good to know you're a fellow sweet potato fan! I think you'll really enjoy this flavor combination.

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almost 2 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Such a pretty picture, Emily!!!!

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks em! I'm definitely trying to improve my very amateurish photography skills! : )

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almost 2 years ago meganvt01

Wow- this looks right up my alley!

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks Megan! It's super easy so you should give it a go!

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almost 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This sounds truly magical. I'd be surprised it would serve any more than 2 people in my household!

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks HLA -- the curry-vanilla combo is pretty magical. I was so pleasantly surprised by it. And I just changed the suggested serving to 2 people since my experience is the same! : )