I love this sweet potato casserole. And yes, I love lots of foods, but this casserole completes the perfect square that is of Thanksgiving sides. Sweet potato casserole, Stuffing Balls, Cheesy Onions, and Cranberry Relish. All surrounding hot turkey, we are talking Thanksgiving perfection.
But it wasn’t always so. For a while, we never had sweet potato casserole at our table. Gasp! Shock!
I know, it really happened. And here is the story…*flash back scene and cue old timey music*
Origin story: the time before sweet potato casserole…
Years ago, when we were a young couple, I asked Nate about whether we should have sweet potato casserole at our first Thanksgiving together.
“I never grew up with sweet potatoes,” he said. “Actually, I was kind of unaware of their existence growing up. My mom didn’t care for them, so we never had them with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. I tried some to be polite once at a pot luck, marshmallows and all, but all of that sweetness was a bit much.”
I was in the same boat. The sweet potato casseroles recipes I had had were almost like sugary oatmeal. We decided to skip them all together, never giving the infamous casserole a second thought. I did always wonder how marshmallows ended up with potatoes.
(Turns out that the addition of marshmallows was an advertising push to get them into holiday recipes.)
Not a hater
Now I want to get ahead of something real quick: Just because I don’t happen to care for a particular dish, doesn’t mean I think it’s bad for everyone. For example: I hate fish. But, I love fishing. Have since I was a little kid. I also love cleaning and frying fresh caught fish for my husband and kiddos in the summer. But I cannot stand the taste. Don’t know why. Maybe I should try and talk to someone about my fish aversion, but I can’t stand it. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy out picking out sushi with my kids at the market for them to try.
I’m just saying not everything is for everyone, and for a number of years, our Thanksgiving table was sweet potatoless.
Sweet potato casserole makes a comeback
However, during one of our Army “Friendsgivings” someone asked, “hey, where’s the sweet potato casserole?” Well, it turns out for some people, leaving out sweet potato casserole is like forgetting the turkey. It was subsequently explained to us that sweet potatoes are more American than apple pie and fireworks. Quite literally, since sweet potatoes actually came from the New World back to Europe with Columbus.
So with that information, we decided to come up with our own version, sans the ‘mallows. I mean, if it’s more American than apple pie, what were we thinking for all those years?
We wanted to workout a recipe that had a completely different topping to the casserole, something that everyone would enjoy. Our final version walks the line of savory and sweet with the soft crunch of pecans. It also pairs perfectly with our Stuffing Balls and Cheesy Onions. And cranberry relish.
- 6 Medium sized Sweet Potatoes
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Pecans, chopped
- 8 Tbsp Butter, softened
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup Flour
Preheat oven to 375F
Place Sweet Potatoes on a baking pan and bake until you can prick it with a fork and it pierces easily; about 45 minutes. When the potatoes are done, let them cool about 5-10 minutes on the pan. After cooling, slice them lengthwise and scrape the insides into a large bowl with a spoon.
Next add in the sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend with a hand mixer until your preferred consistency. I prefer it to be slightly lumpy but perfectly smooth is good too. Pour the Sweet Potato mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
Increase the oven temperature to 400F
In a separate bowl mix the pecans, butter, brown sugar and flour. You can use a fork or pastry cutter to blend it into the crumble topping.
Sprinkle the crumbles over top of the sweet potato mixture in the 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown.Print