november 16, 2013
At Thanksgiving many of us take the literal approach to preparing sweet potatoes by making them even more sweet. Candied yams, sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows…nothing inherently wrong with these dishes, except that some folks simply do not care for treacly sweetness alongside their savory foods.
During the interview process for new clients of The Good Eats Company, the personal chef service I own here in Richmond, I find the occasional distaste for mingling sweet with savory. No maple dijon glazed roasted pork tenderloin for these folks. For people with this palate set, Thanksgiving may be a tough maze to navigate, with honey glazed turkey, syrupy cranberry sauce and the ubiquitous sweetened sweet potato dish looming large on the table, all hard to avoid if you don’t want to offend your hosts.
Here’s a dish that enhances the natural earthiness of local sweet potatoes with undertones of spicy heat from freshly grated ginger and umame from sautéed scallions. Ginger scallion sweet potatoes, the antidote to sweetness overload, freezes beautifully and is easy to heat up on the big day, providing you allow ample time for defrosting in the fridge before baking (or microwaving if your oven is otherwise occupied). One or two days will do the trick, depending on the depth of your baking vessel.
Ginger scallion sweet potatoes taste strongly of neither ginger nor scallion, so flavors do not overwhelm or detract from main dishes and sides prepared with more traditional spices and herbs.
At last weekend’s St. Stephen’s Farmer’s Market, Origins Farm had sturdy sweet potatoes, as well as beautiful mixed Asian greens and rainbow radishes which made a refreshing dinner salad for company. Their chard was glossy and thick-leaved, their turnips were perky white globes topped with bushy greens and it was obvious in the presentation of their wares that all was grown with loving care on their farm in Hanover County. Rebecca Ponder and Alistar Harris are the husband and wife team behind this family farm bearing the distinction of Certified Naturally Grown.
In addition to your entree of choice, whether the standard roast turkey, prime rib, baked ham, or vegan alternative, you will want to offer your family and guests the traditional holiday starters and sides, or perhaps you would like to try something new this year. To that end, I have compiled a list of recipes from earlier posts to round out your Thanksgiving feast. If you make any of these dishes, do let me know how they turned out!
May you all have a relaxing holiday, surrounded by loved ones and loads of reasons to be thankful this year and all year long.
thanksgiving holiday dishes
green tomato chutney with cream cheese on baguette crostini
Ginger Scallion Sweet Potatoes
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
4 large sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds, 12 ounces), peeled and cut in one inch rounds
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 level tablespoons freshly grated ginger
one bunch scallions, chopped (about 6 scallions)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
one pinch ground white pepper
- Place sweet potatoes with about 2 teaspoons kosher salt and water to cover in stockpot.
- Bring to boil, then simmer uncovered until tender and easily pierced with knife, about 15-20 minutes.
- While potatoes are cooking, in separate small saucepan cook ginger and scallion with 4 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium to medium low heat until scallions are tender, about 5 minutes total; avoid browning.
- When sweet potatoes are tender, drain thoroughly and mash with remaining 2 tablespoons butter, sea salt and white pepper, using potato masher (or, even better, with immersion blender).
- Add ginger scallion mixture and stir until combined.
- Serve immediately, or cool to room temperature for storage.
- Will last in fridge for up to 3 days; if frozen, defrost at least one day in advance, and bake uncovered at 350 until heated through (time depends on depth of baking vessel).