CANDIED SWEET POTATOES
Candied sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows are another holiday soul favourite.
I have cooked this dish every Thanksgiving and Christmas for the past 40 years. It was
one of the first holiday dishes shown to me by my grandmother, mother and aunts.
You always knew there was some serious cooking going on when their sweet aroma
wafted through the house. I cooked the dish on BBC television for Thanksgiving 2005,
with Antony Worrall-Thompson and Gary Rhodes. Gary was a bit shocked when the marshmallows came out but I explained that we Americans like to combine sweet and
savoury tastes. He stepped forward with his fork, took a big mouthful and declared it
4 medium sized sweet potatoes (a mixture of
orange and white-fleshed ones, if you like)
100g soft dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
marshmallows for topping
Place the unpeeled sweet potatoes in a large pot of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until they are soft but not falling apart.
Remove from the water and peel. Either slice them into 2.5cm-thick pieces, chop into cubes or mash them – it doesn’t matter. Arrange in a casserole or on a baking tray and set aside.
Put the butter and brown sugar in a pan and heat gently, stirring until melted. Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla. Cut the orange in half and sqeeze the juice into the mixture. I also like to grate a bit of the zest into the sauce. Simmer for a couple of minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken, then remove from the heat and pour it over the sweet potatoes. It may seem like a lot of sauce, but the dish is meant to be rich and juicy. Place in an oven preheated to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has begun to bubble and thicken at the sides.
Remove and top with the marshmallows. Return to the oven and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until the marshmallows are golden and have melted. Serve hot, with chicken, turkey or Meatloaf (page 74) and any vegetables you like.