Every holiday I love to make the traditional family favorite green bean casserole and this Thanksgiving I really wanted to do something different. A new favorite is this Sweet Potatoes with Bacon Pecan Streusel. I have never a big fan of sweet potatoes and I don’t know why, but every time I find myself having some I end up eating more of the crunchy topping then the actual vegetable.
It was time to branch out and try something new with some of my favorites – bacon and pecans. The thick maple bacon I had on hand would work perfectly. I got my plan together and went shopping for the rest of my ingredients.
So I went to the market and fought the crowds of last minute shoppers and came to the vegetable section. Sweet potatoes stacked next to yams. Hmmmm, while the yams had that dark red orange color I had come to know I bought the sweet potatoes because thats what the dish is called. Little did I know that when I got home and started working with them, that I realized I should have gotten the yams. These tubers were yellow on the inside! Did I mess up? Nope the final recipe was amazing just the same. So I decided to look up what the difference was between a sweet potato and a yam.
In my research I found the paler-skinned sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin with pale yellow flesh, which is not sweet and has a dry, crumbly texture similar to a white baking potato. The darker-skinned variety, which is called yam has a thicker, dark orange to reddish skin with a vivid orange, sweet flesh and a moist texture. So there, now we both know if you hadn’t already.
I decided to bake the potatoes, scoop out the flesh and doctor it up with some spices, a little orange zest and maple syrup. This year we were going to do a Cajun style, flavor injected turkey, so I also added some Ancho chili powder to add a little heat and flavor. As for the crunchy topping I made a streusel topping similar to one I use on different breakfast breads, but decided to add orange zest here again and crispy, diced bacon for that salty touch.
I had been baking a bit lately and had very little AP flour left so I used wheat flour and was quite happy with the outcome. This came out amazing and was almost a dessert quality dish. I couldn’t tell the difference if it was a sweet potato or a yam and didn’t care, I had turkey to eat!
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 8 tbsp butter, separated
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp Ancho chile powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp orange zest
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 3 strips of crisp bacon, chopped
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- ½ cup wheat flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp orange zest
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Pierce each potato 4-5 times with a fork in different places around the potato. Place the potatoes on a rack to lift off baking sheet and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- When cool enough to handle scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, Ancho chili powder, and salt. Mix to incorporate. Next add the orange zest and heavy cream and mash, but keep some chunks for the rustic edge. Who wants to eat baby food, right?
- Spread the mixture into a buttered 8x8” casserole pan and set aside.
- Chop the crisp bacon strips and pecans into small pieces and set aside.
- In a bowl add the wheat flour, brown sugar, butter, orange zest, bacon, pecans and salt. With a pastry blender or your hands mix until thoroughly incorporated and pea size crumbles form.
- Sprinkle the bacon pecan streusel over the mashed sweet potatoes and refrigerate until ready to bake, or put in the oven for 20 minutes.