I know many of you probably have already sketched out and finalized your plans for Thanksgiving Day. Recipes have been tested, fine china and silver polished, and a well-thought out orchestration of how each dish will be prepared, has been set. That's a lot of pressure. Thank goodness nobody put me in charge!
Unfortunately, I don't have any family recipes or too many tips that were passed down to share, I'm still trying to build the holiday repertoire myself. Browsing through my blogger friend's festive, tantalizing, and beautifully photographed dishes reminded me of how far I have to go. I only have one Thanksgiving recipe to recommend, sweet potato cranberry hash, a healthy and colorful alternative to the traditional candied sweet potatoes. This recipe may be arriving late, and if it doesn't make it to Thanksgiving dinner, I hope that you consider trying it another time.
It's a very simple recipe that comes from Williams Sonoma. The most time consuming part, baking the sweet potatoes for an hour, is required to be made ahead of time, at least one day in advance; perfect for those rationing every square inch of oven and stove top space. The second step of this recipe includes some prep work, dicing and chopping, prior to sauteing the ingredients together, all of which can be done within 30 minutes.
This recipe brings together bold flavors that I typically wouldn't assume would work, such as cranberries and green onions, but the combination delivers in a stunning manner. However, since this recipe does not depend on sugar or cream for flavor, I must disclaim that the quality of this dish relies almost entirely on the quality of the ingredients. If the sweet potato is not sweet enough, the dish will taste bland. Additionally, I've attempted this recipe with various apple varieties, and found that Fuji, as called for in the recipe, works best.
Also, this recipe is very specific with the amount of time for sauteing each ingredient. If you wander around the house a lot while cooking, like I do because my kitchen is so small, you risk overcooking such ingredients like the green onions. Oops, but you probably don't have that problem.
SWEET POTATO CRANBERRY HASH RECIPE
(Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking)
- 2 pounds of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, roughly 3 skinny ones or 2 fat ones
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 large Fuji apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup sliced green onion
- 1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Set the sweet potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until they still feel slightly firm when pressed, 50 to 55 minutes. If you are using bigger sweet potatoes, it may require a longer time in the oven. Remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Place the sweet potatoes on a plate, cover loosely and refrigerate overnight. (Chilling them firms the flesh, making it hold together better in the hash.) The next day, peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
- In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the apple cubes and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the apple cubes begin to caramelize and brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pan. When it melts, stir in the green onion and cranberries and cook until the green onion wilts, about 1 minute. Stir in the cinnamon and allspice, add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until they are heated through, about 4 minutes. They will break up somewhat, but try to smash them as little as possible. Add the 1/4 tsp. salt, or more, to taste, and season with pepper.
- Transfer the hash to a serving dish and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.