Thursday, January 12, 2012

Roasted Thyme Sweet Potatoes

Everyone think happy thoughts for baby Kate who has a little fever. Poor thing. Shawn's a bit under the weather, too. Just been one of those weeks at the Patterson's. Let's dig into some taters, shall we? 

Today we're talking about sweet potatoes, a veg I thought I'd never like. Growing up, I'd tried them both mashed and baked, and, no offense to my mom who is a wonderful cook- Blech! Still, I knew they were healthier than the traditional potato, and since I can be a bit of a health nut at times, I did not give up on them. One day I decided to try roasting them, one batch with garlic and salt, and the other with rosemary and salt. A hit! I now cook with sweet potatoes at least as often as with any other kind, and I always roast them. For Thanksgiving last year I decided to dress them up with thyme and garlic, and they were received with much success.

I have to be honest and say that I have not figured out how to get them to be as crisp on the outside and tender on the inside as a russet or yukon gold. It seems to be a mystery for many a roasted-sweet-potato lover. But I can recommend some things that will help them to be not quite so moist.

  • Roast at a high temp. A higher temperature will always cook the outside much faster than the inside, drying the outer portion while the insides retain a much cooler temp and some of their moisture.
  • Don't let the potatoes touch, and definitely don't pile them onto each other. It'll cause them to steam each other.
  • Choose a baking dish with low rims. The higher the rim, the more likely they are to steam instead of roast. (That's one of the main reasons you want your meats to sit on a rack within a roasting pan; the pan can catch the juices while allowing plenty of ventilation to the meat so the skin will crisp rather than get soggy.)
  • I did read from one blogger that she adds a bit of sugar to the bowl before tossing all the ingredients together. I tried this, and it did help a bit and it didn't affect the flavor very much, but, like I said, I like to make the healthier choice when I can.

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Roasted Thyme Sweet Potatoes
Serves 6-8

Ingredients4 large, or 6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into domino-sized pieces
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1/3 cup thyme, chopped
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
In a large mixing bowl toss all ingredients. Spread the sweet potatoes onto a large heavy cookie sheet or large baking dish, making sure they don't touch. (Think Adrian Monk.) Roast for about 30-40 minutes, depending on how thin you cut the pieces.
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Serve as a side dish to Menu #2!
Ready to be tossed.

All done!

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