Thursday, November 5, 2015

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Millionaire's Bacon

When I was a kid, I hated sweet potatoes.  I mean I didn't want to smell them and when having them forced in my face at Thanksgiving, I would wrinkle my nose and run.  I have no idea why, I don't think I ever really tasted them.  I felt the same about pumpkin pie.  Now?  I freaking love sweet potatoes!  Funny how that happens, if you let it.  

I think most of us grew up on that traditional sweet potato casserole with canned taters, tons of brown sugar and marshmallow on top.  My mom still makes it that way and while it's okay, it is just far too sweet for me to be able to take.  (And I say a cupcake isn't good unless the frosting is "diabetes sweet" so that's saying something if I think her sweet potatoes are too sweet.)  I asked her this year if I could take a stab at them and I did a trial run the other night.  I'm passing the recipe on to you guys in case you want something that'll hopefully be a hit at your holiday table.


What you'll need:

6 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup real maple syrup
3 slices low fat bacon
2 tablespoons of brown sugar


Let's start by making the millionaire's bacon.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.   You will need a silicone baking mat (how I ever baked without it is beyond me but it especially comes in handy for millionaire's bacon) or parchment paper.  Lay out your bacon.


Sprinkle it with the brown sugar, rub it in and flip it over and repeat.  Place in the oven for 5-8 minutes keeping a very close eye on it as the bacon (especially if it's thinner) can burn quickly.


While the bacon is cooking, you can start peeling your potatoes.  There are two types of peelers, the one on the left is rigid and doesn't move.  The one on the right swivels as you cut and is best used for things like carrots and celery or something with a very thin skin.  For sweet potatoes, choose the one on the left for more control.


Peel away!


This is what the bacon should look like when it comes out of the oven.  Pull any burnt parts away from the sides.


The darker parts that stick that aren't burnt, the Mr and I call "bacon candy."  It is made of the smoky bacon fat and melted brown sugar that then hardens.  We will body slam each other into submission for the last piece.  No it's not healthy but it's friggin' AMAZING.


Keep the oven on 450.  Slice your sweet potatoes into slices of the same thickness.


Then cut those slices into cubes of like sizes so they will roast evenly.


Put the cubes into a large bowl and drizzle the olive oil on the top.


If you want to add any spices, this is the time.  I added some pumpkin pie spice and black pepper for a sweet and savory approach.  Then give it a toss to coat.


Spray your cookie sheets with some cooking spray and spread out your cubes.  Make sure to put any smaller pieces on the outer edge and keep your thickest cubes toward the middle for even cooking.


Roast for 7 minutes then pull them out and use a spatula to loosen and flip them over.


Put them back in the oven for another 7 minutes and flip with a spatula.  Roast no more than 5 more minutes.  You're looking for this beautiful caramelization.


Cut up your millionaire's bacon into small bite sized pieces.


Time to get your syrup on!


Transfer the cooked taters to a large bowl.


Drizzle the maple syrup over the top.


Toss to coat.


If you're going to serve immediately, transfer to a pretty dish.  If you're going to be taking it and reheating elsewhere, just give a squirt of cooking spray so it doesn't stick while reheating.


If you are serving immediately, sprinkle the bacon bits on top.  If you're going to reheat elsewhere, put the bacon in a baggie and take it with you to top just before serving.  It will continue to cook and the candied effect will melt off and it could burn.


Makes six servings.

Obviously you could add other things for texture like walnut pieces or I won't be mad atcha if you added a few mini marshmallows to keep that old school feel!  ;-)


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4 comments:

  1. Mmmm. Bacon Candy. Seriously, this will blow away that tired old sweet potato casserole we always get that only 2 people actually eat.

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  2. That sounds really good. I know I've had the traditional canned stuff, but I can't remember the last time. As far back as I can remember my mom has done fresh sweet 'taters and passed that on to me. She cooks hers in the microwave and then lets them cool and the skins slide right off. Then it's a quick mash, some pineapple and walnuts on top, and they're ready to be reheated or served. I think the bacon and maple sounds like an amazing addition.

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  3. Do you think this could be done with Butternut squash for a similar taste? My dad has kidney problems and sweet taters are pretty high in phosphorous. I'm not sure if butternut squash is too savory for that candied bacon though.

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    Replies
    1. I think it would work very well, especially if properly spiced. Give it a test run like I did to be sure. Sweet and savory are the perfect match! :-)

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