Thanksgiving is just a week away. To be honest, Thanksgiving is my favorite culinary holiday (Hanukkah follows closely behind with latkes!). I experienced my first Thanksgiving as a young teenager, when my family moved to the United States. I loved the roasted turkey, despite the fact that my father does not eat the bird. I loved the mashed potatoes, welcoming them to the table welcoming them to the table like an old, familiar friend. I even loved the cranberry sauce that came directly out of the can (forgive me, this was years and years ago before I discovered how easy it is to make your own cranberry sauce).
One thing that puzzled me about Thanksgiving was the Sweet Potato Pie. I didn’t get it. Please don’t judge, but I grew up without much cinnamon, five spice, and nutmeg. The flavors didn’t resonate with me. And so, I unfairly abolished sweet potatoes altogether from my diet.
Then one day, I tasted sweet potatoes on their own. I should have marked that day on the calendar, it was that epic! Since then, I have been enjoying sweet potatoes on a regular basis. One year, when planning the Thanksgiving menu, I thought I should incorporate sweet potatoes in the meal, but do it my way!
Here’s the recipe for Thanksgiving Zesty Sweet Potatoes with Jalapeno and Ginger. I add zest and juice of the orange, along with the lime juice to enhance the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes. The heat from the jalapeno pepper and spice from fresh ginger counteracts brown sugar and brightens up the dish. Cilantro and scallions contribute flavor, aroma, and color contrast. I welcome you to try this recipe and share it with your family and friends at the Thanksgiving table.
6-8 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1″ pieces
zest of 2 oranges
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lime
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
2-4 tablespoons light brown sugar
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated on microplane
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated on microplane
1/2 cup Half and Half, plus extra, as needed
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 scallions, sliced
1. Place sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Season with salt. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer sweet potatoes until they are completely tender.
2. While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together orange zest, juice, lime juice, jalapeno, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and half & half – this is your dressing.
3. Once tender, drain sweet potatoes and mash in a large bowl. Combine the potatoes with the dressing and season with salt and pepper. If you would like a looser consistency, add a little bit more half and half. Gently fold in cilantro and scallions.
4. Serve on a side, garnished with extra cilantro and scallions.
If you have any leftovers the next day, I’d recommend making these potatoes into little cakes by adding an egg and flour and then pan frying the potatoes in vegetable oil.
Please share your favorite non-sweet way to enjoy sweet potatoes!