I just love thinking outside the 9 by 13.
Sweet Potato lovers over at North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission do too. They sponsored a No More Mallows contest – and bloggers were not allowed to use marshmallows; i.e., come up with other ways to use the colorful tubers. This is our entry for that blog festival.
Turns out I had seen O Magazine’s food section recently, and they used a cola braise for sweet potatoes. But, thought I, root beer would be so much better! So. I decided to braise them and then add in come new flavors – smoked gouda for flavor and texture, and some earthy cumin and a hit of cyenne pepper sauce just because. I added cream cheese for a more fluffy texture than just plain cream. The result is a festival of playful flavors that would make any family table sing.
Forget mallows, food fans!
ROOT BEER BRAISED SWEET POTATO MASH
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large white onion, sliced in 1/4 inch thick julienne strips
12 ounces high-quality root beer (NOT diet)
1 teaspoon salt
2 ounces smoked gouda cheese, grated
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Slice in half lengthwise and then cut in 1/4 inch half moon shapes. In a large heavy bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, heat butter and oil to medium high heat, add sweet potatoes in a single layer (cook in two batches as necessary to make a single layer), stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Add in onions and cook until sweet potatoes are lightly browned and onions are translucent.
Add in root beer and salt and let boil for 1 minute. Reduce to a simmer and cover and cook 10 minutes. Uncover and cook another 20 minutes or so until all liquid has evaporated, and sweet potatoes are very tender. If necessary, add a little water to continue cooking until sweet poatatoes are soft.
Remove from heat and add in gouda, cream cheese, cayenne sauce, cumin and vinegar. Whip with electric mixer until smooth and well blended. Taste and adjust salt if needed.