Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Pears
Bon Appetit (November, 1994)
5 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large firm but ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/3 inch-thick slices
3/4 cup (or more) pear nectar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (generous) ground cardamom
Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2 - inch glass baking dish. Pierce potatoes in several places with fork. Place on baking sheet; bake until very tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Reduce temperature to 350 F.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pears; saute until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup nectar; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until pears are very tender, adding more nectar if mixture sticks to skillet and stirring often, about 4 minutes. Transfer to processor and puree.
Peel sweet potatoes; place in large bowl of electric mixer. Add 4 tablespoons butter; beat until smooth. Mix in pear puree, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to prepared dish. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Bake potatoes uncovered until just heated through, about 20 minutes.
Notes: I'm not a big fan of sweet potatoes but they are a staple, of course, at Thanksgiving. So, I set out to find a recipe that might be a bit different than the popular marshmallow-topped one. Though I was nervous about finding pear nectar (but it turned up in the local Stop'n'Shop), this was my pick. And it proved quite popular - the pears contrasted nicely with the sweet potatoes and made the texture of the dish more appealing to me. Plus, the cardamom and cinnamon gave it a more complex taste.Posted by Jennifer at November 27, 2004 8:48 AM