Sweet Potato Casserole is a vegetable side dish for people who say they hate vegetables. It is sweet enough to be a dessert, but since it really is a vegetable it can be paired perfectly with Roasted Chicken, turkey, and (especially) baked ham. In the USA, it is a traditional dish served with a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
This Sweet Potato Casserole recipe can be made with fresh sweet potatoes or with canned sweet potatoes. The canned sweet potatoes are already cooked. The fresh sweet potatoes would need to get cooked first (see below).
Fresh and Canned Sweet Potatoes
Buying canned sweet potatoes may be a bit confusing, as it will say on the label (at least in the USA) both “sweet potato” and “yams”, which may sound like a contradiction of terms as in many parts of the world a yam is not a sweet potato!
In the USA, “yams” are actually sweet potatoes with relatively moist texture and orange flesh. Although, in the USA, the terms are generally used interchangeably, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that the label “yam” always be accompanied by “sweet potato”.
The really great thing about using canned sweet potatoes for this recipe is that all the ingredients can be bought well in advance and just happily sit in your food cupboard until you are ready to start cooking!
sweet potatoes, rum, brown sugar, pecans ,mandarin oranges
Sweet Potatoes – Fresh
Just in case you prefer fresh versus canned sweet potatoes, they need to get cooked first, cooled and then added to the casserole. Bake them as you would white potatoes by first scrubbing them clean…
…poke them with a knife…
…and bake them with their skins left on in a 400 F. degree oven for about 1 hour.
Once cooked, cut them in half and scoop out the sweet potato. They are now ready to be mixed with the other ingredients for the casserole. (See below)
It takes less than 10 minutes to assemble this Sweet Potato Casserole and only 30 minutes to bake.
As always, it is best to get all your ingredients prepared and measured first.
melted butter, brown sugar, chopped pecans, rum, mandarin oranges
Preparing and Measuring the Ingredients
Put four tablespoons of butter in a small microwave safe bowl and melt the butter in the microwave. That should take about 30 seconds. Three tablespoons of butter will get mixed into the sweet potatoes and the remaining tablespoon of butter will be for the pecan topping.
You can use light or dark brown sugar. Three tablespoons will be mixed in with the sweet potatoes and the remaining tablespoon will be mixed with the chopped pecans for the topping.
Roughly chop 1/3 cup of pecans – or a bit more if you love pecans! A serrated edge knife works best for chopping nuts. Rock the knife through the nuts by holding the handle of the knife in one hand and the tip of the blade with the other hand.
The rum adds a nice flavor to this Sweet Potato Casserole, but it is an optional ingredient.
Drain the liquid from the mandarin oranges…
…and GENTLY rinse them under cold water.
Spread them out on a paper towel or clean kitchen cloth.
Drain the sweet potatoes in a colander,
and put them in a large mixing bowl.
Mixing the Ingredients
Add to the sweet potatoes: three tablespoons of the melted butter….
…2 tablespoons of rum…
…3 tablespoons of brown sugar…
…and 1/4 teaspoon of salt…
and some freshly grated black pepper.
With a potato masher…
or an electric hand mixer…
mash/mix everything together.
GENTLY fold in the mandarin oranges. These oranges are very delicate and you do not want them to lose their shape by over-mixing them into the sweet potatoes.
Spoon the sweet potatoes into a 1 quart, oven-safe casserole dish.
Add the chopped pecans to the remaining one tablespoons of butter and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar as well.
Mix these three ingredients together with a fork.
Sprinkle this pecan topping on the sweet potatoes.
(Many Sweet Potato Casserole recipes call for mini marshmallows to be added to the top as well!)
Bake the sweet potatoes in a pre-heated 375 F. degree oven for 30 minutes and enjoy!
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