The Thanksgiving dishes of my Texan youth may not have been fancy, but they remain some of my favorite holiday recipes. Growing up, my mother made putting on a delicious holiday spread look like a breeze. Though I grew up to become a chef and caterer, I learned that dinner for 20 is NEVER a breeze, even as a professional. How did my mother do it without breaking a sweat?!
After far too many holiday panic-attacks, I finally asked her. Her secret? To make the most simple dishes possible, with minimal ingredients and day-of prep. Now why didn’t I think of that? Her ultimate holiday secret weapon was Secret Ingredient Sweet Potatoes—a dish I continue to make today.
To be honest, I had no idea what the secret ingredient was until she told me—the flavor is hardly perceptible if you aren’t expecting it! Back in the day (when you could find it) she used pineapple-orange juice concentrate. Today, I use fresh orange and pineapple, but the same flavors are still there. I love to watch people taste this dish—their eyes squint as they try to figure it out. Regardless, everyone agrees: these sweet potatoes are absolutely divine. Creamy, sweet, and perfectly bright, I can’t get enough of them.
Because I’m a sucker for nostalgia, I serve these potatoes just as my Mom did. Sure, it might be corny and old fashioned, but I love it! Scooped out orange halves and bruleed marshmallows take me right back to my childhood.
Make this incredible dish for your holiday spread and let it become a part of your family’s tradition too. You won’t only be shocked by how easy they are, you’ll also be shocked by their unique burst of flavor. Enjoy!
Watch my video to see how easy it is to pull it off. Print out the recipe and you’ll be ready to go!
Also, check out a SNEAK PEAK of my Thanksgiving Menu (below)…stay tuned for recipes in next week’s blog!
Secret Ingredient Sweet Potatoes
5 pounds (4 or 5 large) sweet potatoes
1 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1 tablespoon orange zest
4 oranges, sliced in half and flesh scooped out
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Marshmallows or toasted chopped nuts, optional
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until very tender, about 1 ½ hours. Remove from the oven and cool. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.The potatoes can be baked up to 24 hours in advance.
While potatoes are baking, add pineapple, orange zest, and the flesh of two oranges to a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
Peel the baked potatoes, then mash well in a bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, butter, salt, and pepper. Add mixture to food processor with pineapple mixture and pulse until smooth and combined. Recipe can be prepared up to this point one day in advance.
Divide mixture evenly amongst orange halves, top with marshmallows if using, and set on a baking sheet. Bake until steaming, 20-30 minutes.
Also, check out a SNEAK PEAK of my Thanksgiving Menu…stay tuned for recipes in next week’s blog!
Apple Cider Ginger Cocktail
Kale Pesto Crostini
Chicken Liver Pâté
Dry-Brined Hertitage Turkey with Fennel, Star Anise, and Orange
Bourbon-Mustard Glazed Ham
Secret Ingredient Sweet Potatoes
Cornbread, Mushroom, and Pecan Dressing with Sausage
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple-Walnut Butter
Cranberry-Cherry Conserve with Orange
Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin
Brought By Guests!!!!