Ahhhh, Thanksgiving is this week! Are you terrified? Are you ecstatic? Have you made your shopping list?
Do you already need a drink?
This will be the FIFTH year without a Thanksgiving meal coming out of my kitchen. We will be with my family, all of whom understand that Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl in the world of cooking, and they do it right. Fresh summer produce is frozen and set aside for use in Turkey Day recipes. We don’t just do mashed potatoes, we do mashed potatoes with creme fraiche and caramelized shallots. We plan an array of fancy apps and cocktails for evening- and there is no chip and dip in sight.
No judgement if you make an array of basic Thanksgiving dishes (ok, maybe a little judgement if you used jarred gravy… sorry), because it’ll be your turn to out-decorate me at Christmas. A tree is essential… but other than that, I’m at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to home decor. It’s way embarrassing. But I’m vowing to do a better job when we’re in a bigger house, aka when Emma comes home from a friend’s house that is decorated to a magazine-worthy level and says ‘Mom, you HAVE TO get it together.’ Then I’ll decorate my mantle with fresh garden, buy myself some overpriced Pottery Barn items, including those lighted branches I’ve always wanted… all the time convincing myself that this Southern Living mom probably uses jarred gravy. Hehe.
What I’m saying is that I take major joy in the creation and consumption of our Thanksgiving food. Generally, this involves days of planning and prep work because no matter what Rachael Ray says, in my world, Thanksgiving dinner is not a 60-minute endeavor. So I used to think that if it was a simple recipe, it didn’t belong on my table.
Or… does it?
While I don’t think anything can beat a brined and buttered turkey (aka time-consuming) and making cornbread stuffing from scratch, making these Maple-Thyme Glazed Sweet Potatoes made me realize that some minimal effort dishes are totally at home on a gourmet Thanksgiving table. This is one of them!
First of all, there’s no par-cooking or first step- the only cooking is the roasting on a parchment-lined sheet pan (roasting = little attention is needed, parchment paper = no clean-up; both = SCORE). Second of all, I never thought this would come out of my mouth… but you can totally eat the skin. I KNOW!! It comes out just as tender as regular potato skin, it looks rustic, and it actually keeps the potatoes from falling apart. Plus, peeling them is one fewer prep step. Again, SCORE.
Can you have your cake and eat it, too? Can you have low-maintenance + Thanksgiving-worthy?? YES. These sweet potatoes are total proof. And FYI, if you’re looking for a side and dessert that also fit the bill, try Cranberry Conserve and Chocolate-Mocha Icebox Cake. OMG, I am salivating. Only 5 more days till I get to eat BOTH OF THEM because they have a standing spot within the Hound, et al, Thanksgiving cornucopia. That makes me SO, SO happy!!!
T-minus 5 days till the Super Bowl of cooking/eating/giving thanks/trying to get smashed Cranberry Conserve out of your daughter’s clothing. GET EXCITED!!!
- 3 lbs sweet potatoes, ends trimmed, peeled, rinsed, and cut into ¾" rounds
- 2 T olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ c maple syrup
- 2 T melted unsalted butter
- 2 tsp minced fresh thyme
- Toss potatoes in a large bowl with oil, 1 tsp salt, and pepper to taste until evenly coated. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (FYI, I am in love with Reynold's Baking Paper, which is parchment on one side, foil on the other to make it more pliable when lining dishes). Arrange potatoes in a single layer on baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Adjust oven rack to middle position and place potatoes in cold oven. Turn oven to 425 degrees F and cook potatoes for 30 minutes (this includes the time to get oven to temp- you are starting in a cold oven.
- Remove baking sheet from oven and carefully remove top piece of foil (there can be a lot of steam). Return potatoes to oven and roast, uncovered, until bottom edges of potatoes are golden brown, about 15-25 minutes.
- While potatoes are roasting uncovered, whisk together maple syrup, melted butter, and thyme in a small bowl.
- Remove baking sheet from oven, brush potatoes with half of glaze. Flip with a spatula and brush with remaining glaze. Return potatoes to oven** and continue to roast 18-22 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let cool 5-10 minutes, and serve.