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Welcome to My Hungry Boys where I share what I love to cook for my husband and our four sons.   I've made a lot of food over the years and I've learned a lot in the process. 

Savory Sweet Potato Side

Savory Sweet Potato Side

Finally, I’m writing a Thanksgiving post. I spend so much time thinking about what I’ll be serving for Thanksgiving, that one would expect me to spend a little more time actually writing about it. Sadly, however, as soon as Thanksgiving prep begins, I’m forced to push most other thoughts and projects out of my head. The pinnacle of all food holidays, Thanksgiving is a time of very high expectations for those of us whose passion is cooking, so once mid-November arrives, I’m all in.

An important part of Thanksgiving inheres in the memories it evokes. This makes it nearly impossible to alter the menu; we all have sentimental affinities for at least one of the staple Thanksgiving dishes, whether it be the stuffing, the green beans, or the sweet potato casserole. So, due to the fact that so many Americans are loyal to its marshmallowy cousin, I’m a bit hesitant to recommend the substitution of a savory sweet potato dish. But then again, I can’t be the only one who finds the traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato dish to be too sweet for its own good. Sweet potatoes already contain enough natural sweetness as is; a little savoriness is just the edge they need.

Like most people, I’ve always had one oven. At Thanksgiving, then, I’ve always had to prepare all side dishes either the day before, or on the stovetop. But it is with great enthusiasm that I can now say I have a second oven. It’s in my basement, which is fitting because when I was younger, most of my Italian relatives had second kitchens in their basements so that their principal kitchens wouldn’t get dirty. I gave up on having a pristine kitchen long ago; as I like to say, I cook far too much to keep clean (in actuality, I just don’t like cleaning). But for busy times of the year such as Thanksgiving, the second oven proves to be very useful. I also get to feel like my great aunts, which is a great feeling because although I remember them being quite old, I mostly remember them being very happy, very Italian, and very loving… and who doesn’t want to feel more like that? But I digress. If you only have one oven at Thanksgiving, I recommend making this dish ahead of time, then reheating it just before serving.


Savory Sweet Potato Side

Adapted from an Epicurious Recipe

Sweet Potatoes:

  • 2½ pounds sweet potatoes - peeled and cut into cubes (I recommend Garnet sweet potatoes if available; although more expensive, they are luxuriously rich)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (or another oil of your preference)

  • 2 tablespoons butter - 1 ounce

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 garlic cloves - finely chopped

Red Onions:

  • 1½ pounds red onions - peeled, quartered and sliced

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (or another oil of your preference)

  • 1 tablespoons butter - ½ ounce

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

To finish:

  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano cheese - 1.2 ounces

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine oil, butter, sweet potatoes, and salt on a half sheet pan in a single layer. Combine oil, butter, sliced red onions, and salt on a second sheet pan, also in a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes, then stir chopped garlic into the sweet potato pan before returning it to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Bake both pans for a total of ~35-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes until the edges of the sweet potatoes and onions are browned. (Note: the onions are best when they get a bit dark and crispy, so don’t alter the recipe by caramelizing them stove top.) If serving immediately, combine the sweet potatoes and onions in a bowl, adding 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and ½ cup grated Parmigiano cheese. If storing for later, however, don’t combine; store the sweet potatoes and onions in separate containers, then refrigerate. Before serving, bring both containers to room temperature (~45 minutes), then place them on a single half sheet pan (I pile the sweet potatoes on one half of the pan and the onions on the other half). Heat at 350°F for ~20 min. Combine in a bowl with ground pepper and Parmigiano.

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