When I saw whiskey and cayenne pepper on the ingredient list, I knew this would be a winner. And true enough, everyone at the Thanksgiving dinner soiree liked it. Easy to make and not too time intensive, this is a nice change from the usual brown sugar slathered, over-baked yams that are so common this time of year. Credit for this one goes to Food Network’s Guy Fieri. To check out his official recipe, click here.
I upped some of the quantities and it still worked out fine. This version serves 8 – 10 hungry people.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
6 medium to large sweet potatoes
4 – 5 crisp, tart apples (Fuji or something similar)
1 cup of pecans, shelled and crushed
4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 cup agave nectar (look for it next to the honey in your market)
1/2 cup of whiskey (the better the quality, the better the dish. Don’t be cheap.)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
A good dash of salt
First you need to bake the potatoes. After washing them thoroughly, place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in your pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. You do not want to cook them all the way through, but the spuds should be “almost” done after half an hour. If you cook them all the way, that’s okay. It is just easier to slice them if they still have some firmness. If all else fails, let them cool a bit more before moving on.
Once the potatoes are out of the oven, set aside to cool. DO NOT TURN OFF THE OVEN YET. Sorry, didn’t mean to yell. But don’t do it.
Sauce time next. In a medium sauce pan, toast the pecans over high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly. If you think they are starting to burn, remove from heat. Burned nuts smell like, well, burned nuts. And no one wants that.
To the pecans, add the butter, which should melt and sizzle very quickly. Then add the agave nectar, cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg and salt. Stir and simmer over medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes, just enough to get those flavors popping.
Add the whiskey and stir some more, again over medium heat for about 5 minutes. The alcohol will cook off but the flavor will remain.
Remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes.
Peel and core the apples, then slice them into half inch wedge-like slices. The exact shape is up to you, be as artistic as you want, as long as the slices are not too thick. Try to stay at a half inch thickness or slightly less.
The potatoes should be cool enough for you to handle now. Peel off the ‘tater skin and discard. Cut the potatoes crosswise into half inch slices. I went ahead and cut those in half, creating little half moon shaped slices.
Putting it all together:
Find your 9×12 inch, glass baking dish. It’s the one that is always in the lowest cabinet, under the biggest collection of random baking dishes you have. Yes, that’s the one. Now, spray the baking dish with cooking spray to keep everything from sticking.
Place the potato and apple slices in the baking dish. Again, artistry is up to you. If you are in a hurry, just toss them in and mix. I tried to be fancy and alternated potato and apple, using three rows. Just get them in there somehow and you will be okay.
Give your pecan-whiskey sauce a stir, then drizzle all over the potatoes and apples.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. While you are waiting, you can make more sauce (minus the pecans) and drizzle on top once the dish has fully baked. It’s an option, not a requirement.
Now you are done!
As long as you have talked someone else into baking a turkey, you are all set for a feast.
Happy eating, Pilgrims!
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- A Savory Spin on Sweet Potatoes (thecocinamonologues.com)
- Pecan, Cranberry, Apple, & Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (thiscountrygirlcooks.com)