Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sweet Potato Mallow

I realize that it may be a little late to update your plans for Thanksgiving sides. But you should consider adding sweet potato mallow to your holiday feast this year. And if that's not possible, don't give up hope just yet. Fall is still upon us, so let's gobble up those sweet potatoes while we can. And if Jack Frost's winter wonderland still sneaks up on you, screw it and just make this dish anyway.

This sweet potato mallow is a traditional side at any and every one of my family's get-togethers, be it Thanksgiving or Christmas or any meal in between. I didn't realize that it was a dish that was also made here in the states until I started researching possible recipes. Who knew this side was everywhere? I finally decided to just go with what I know and get the recipe from my sister. This is where I fell into the typical "family recipe" trap. My conversation with my sister went something like this:

Me: "What's the recipe for sweet potato mallow?"
Nett: "Mix together some sweet potatoes, butter, cream, and brown sugar. Then bake until the marshmallows are done."
Me: "OK. I'm going to need some measurements with that."
Nett: "Well, I don't really measure. Use 5 cans of sweet potatoes, then just mix everything together until it tastes right."
Me: "Hmmm..."

After some more prodding, I finally got an approximate recipe for the sweet potato mallow. I decided to go old school and use real sweet potatoes in the recipe, but if you find you don't have the time, you can use 5 1lb cans of sweet potatoes instead. You'll be able to save time by skipping the whole peeling and boiling process.

Sweet Potato Mallow
a family recipe
  • 5lb sweet potatoes (or 5 1lb cans of sweet potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar (either light or dark brown sugar)
  • 2 bags regular-sized marshmallows
1) If you're using raw, whole sweet potatoes, peel and dice the potatoes. If you're using canned sweet potatoes, skip to Step 3.

2) Boil the potatoes until they are tender. You want them to be easily blended by your mixer. (I admit that I didn't time this step. I was distracted by my sore wrist which I obtained from peeling and dicing 5lbs of sweet potatoes.)

3) Add the boiled, diced sweet potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add the butter, brown sugar, and evaporated milk.

Two things to note here if you're using canned sweet potatoes: (1) Make sure that the butter is at room temperature. The canned potatoes won't be warm, so they won't melt the butter for you. (2) You won't need as much brown sugar as called for in the ingredients list. Canned sweet potatoes are typically mixed with heavy syrup. I don't know how much brown sugar you will need since I didn't actually use canned sweet potatoes, but make sure to add the sugar gradually and not all at once.

4) Mix everything together. It's OK if the mixture is still a little chunky. The chunks will smooth out during the baking process. (My mixture was a little smoother than I would have liked because I had to continuously add more sugar, milk and butter as I figured out the ratios.)

5) Pour into a non-greased pan and smooth out the mixture.

6) Top with marshmallows.

7) Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for ~45 minutes. You'll notice that the marshmallows are golden and crispy when the dish is done. Serve warm.

I personally had to make the sweet potatoes in two batches, since the mixer couldn't hold 5lbs of potatoes. No problem. I just mixed together half of the butter, evaporated milk, and sugar with half of the potatoes, then I spread this mixture in the baking dish. I whipped together the remainder of the ingredients and added it to the baking dish. The marshmallows went on top.

This side dish turned out to be pretty tasty -- irrespective of the fact that I had no actual measurements for the recipe. The sweet potato was smooth and creamy from the butter and evaporated milk. It was also sweet from the sugar and the marshmallows. Interestingly enough, the roasted marshmallows provided an unexpected texture which was sometimes chewy and sometimes crunchy.

I actually made this as a side dish for my neighbors pre-Thanksgiving feast this past weekend. Apparently no one at the shindig had eaten this particular side dish before, although one person did confess that he had seen it before but with mini marshmallows. Pssshhhh...I say go big or go home! Thankfully, the consumers seemed to be converts once we were done stuffing our faces!

!!!Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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