With summer drawing to a close, I’ve found myself craving food with a little more comfort and nourishment to it, like mashed sweet potatoes. I think it’s because of how busy I’ve been this summer—when I started the year I really wanted to make a point to stay home all summer long and enjoy all that the northwest sunshine had to offer, but instead I ended up traveling and working quite a bit, while still taking part in a ton of summery Oregon activities, and I think trying to cram so much into such a short timeframe has left me feeling exhausted. I’ve been longing for those calm autumn days where the rain pelts your windows, you’re wrapped up in a thick sweater all comfy-like, and you don’t feel guilty about snuggling up inside and doing nothing but enjoying a hot cozy meal like this sweet potato dish. I’m hoping that by making this, I can lure autumn to start sooner. With all the wildfires that have been going on near my home, I’m definitely ready for the rainy season to begin.
While the sweet potatoes are tasty, my favorite element of this dish are the rich and buttery pecans. They’re toasted slightly before being pureed with the sweet potatoes, and their toasty, nutty and comforting flavor lends itself perfectly to the sweet silkiness of the roasted mashed sweet potatoes. Pecans contain a combination of protein, fiber and “good” mono un-saturated fats, which means they can helps you stay full longer. They’re also an excellent source of copper and manganese, which are essential for a functioning metabolism and bone health. And the majority of pecans for sale in the US are grown here in North America, so every time you cook with them you know you’re supporting American family farmers. Good for both your biological heart, and your emotional one!
I used some sage with the pecans and mashed sweet potatoes because I find that it has the most wonderful autumn-esque herbal flavor to it, and I caramelized some onions and stirred those in at the end for some extra sweet-savory goodness. And a word of note on the pecans, they keep best if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator (they’ll keep up to 9 months this way), and you can also store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 years, and can thaw and re-freeze them several times without any negative effect on their taste or texture.
And if you’re looking for more sweet potato recipes, you can take a look at them here!
This post was made in partnership with the American Pecan Council, but all opinions expressed here are my own, per usual!
Sweet Potato and Pecan Puree with Caramelized Onions
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 pounds yellow onions (chopped)
Sweet Potato and Pecan Puree
- 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup milk (room temperature)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons flake sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and stir to coat i the mixture, then reduce heat to low. Continue cooking until the onions are a deep gold and smell slightly sweet, about 1 hour, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Sweet Potato and Pecan Puree
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the sweet potatoes on a pan lined with tin foil and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on.
Spread out the pecans on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn it off. Allow the sweet potatoes and pecans to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking the butter, stirring several times to ensure it cooks evenly, until the liquid turns deep gold and the mild solid bits at the bottom of the pan are dark brown and the mixture smells toasty and nutty. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once the sweet potatoes have cooled enough to handle, peel off and discard their skins using your hands. Place the sweet potatoes, pecans, brown butter, milk, salt, and sage in a blender or food processor and puree at medium low speed until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary to ensure a thoroughly blended mixture.
Empty the puree into a mixing bowl and stir in the caramelized onions. Serve immediately.