Sweet Potato Mash with Bourbon Poached Pears

By • November 15, 2010 • 0 Comments

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Author Notes: A fitness instructor friend of mine asked me to create a healthier version of sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving. I grew up hating sweet potato casserole - and I still do. My mom used to mix canned yams with condensed milk and brown sugar, and then top it off with marshmallows. Luckily, my friend asked that I nix sugar and dairy of any kind, so there is no risk of an overly-sweet gross-out episode in this recipe. Along with the subtle hint of bourbon, finishing the mash off with smoked sea salt and crispy sage help to reduce an overdose of sweetness. However, I think the latter additions are much more effective if added in concentrated portions, so I've used ramekins as my serving device instead of a large casserole dish.The Internet Cooking Princess

Serves 6-8

  • 6 Sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 3 Large Bosc pears, not overly ripe, peeled and chopped
  • 1 c. Bourbon
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 T. Chinese five spice
  • 1/4 t. Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 c. Warm vegetable stock
  • 1/4 t. Apple cider vinegar
  • Top notch olive oil
  • Kosher salt & white pepper
  • Smoked sea salt {to garnish}
  • Fresh sage {about 24 leaves, to garnish}
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Divide the sweet potatoes between two roasting pans, coating each sliced sweet potato with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt. Roast them for 30 minutes. Then, remove the pans from the oven, turn the potatoes over, give them another light coating and sprinkling of olive oil and kosher salt, and return them to the oven for another 30 minutes.
  2. Just as the potatoes are finishing up, add the bourboun and cinnamon sticks to a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Let the bourbon simmer for about five minutes until it's reduced by half. {Keep your eye on it the whole time.}
  3. Stir in the chopped pears, ensuring each side gets coated in a little bourbon. Spread the pears over the bottom of the pot, and simmer until the pears are soft and the bourbon evaporates.
  4. Discard the cinnamon sticks. Add the roasted sweet potatoes, Chinese five spice, fresh nutmeg, apple cider vinegar, and vegetable stock to the same pot as the pears. Season with kosher salt {I used a few tablespoons} and a pinch of white pepper.
  5. Using an immersion blender, pulse all the way around the pot until the sweet potatoes and pears are completely pureed. {A ricer would work too - but the immersion blender requires less upper body work.} Taste the mixture and add any additional salt and white pepper if needed.
  6. In a skillet, add about a quarter cup of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the sage leaves to the oil once hot, and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute on each side or until crisp. Line the sage on some paper towels and set aside.
  7. Using some small ramekins, spoon about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the sweet potato mixture in each one. Top each ramekin with one or two fried sage leaves and a sprinkling of smoked sea salt to serve.

Tags: Side Dishes, sweet potato, Vegan

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