words and images: Catherine Frederick
Recipe adapted from halfbakedharvest.com
I’m a traditional girl when it comes to holiday foods. Every now and then I’ll try something new, but nothing too crazy or my family would riot. Each year I make sweet potato casserole, one side with pecans, one without, so as to appease the masses. This year will be no different, but I will be including this little show stopper.
Bacon, pecans, bourbon and sweet potatoes. What?! This dish is simply scrumptious. It screams tradition with a big slap in the face of down-home southern. You need this in your life! Trust me on this one.
Ingredients For the Sweet Potatoes 4 medium sweet potatoes ¾ cup brown sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon cinnamon ¼ cup heavy cream ¼ cup butter, melted 2 eggs, lightly beaten 2 Tablespoons bourbon For the Pecan Topping 6 slices thick cut bacon, chopped ¾ cup brown sugar ½ teaspoon cinnamon 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 ½ cups raw pecans, roughly chopped 1/3 cup salted butter, melted ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
Method Preheat oven to 400°. Poke holes in sweet potatoes, then bake until tender, about an hour. Remove from oven, cut in half, let cool. To make the topping, heat a large skillet (I prefer cast iron) to medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove from skillet, reserve bacon. In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, pecans, butter, cayenne, and sage. Stir to combine, then add in reserved bacon. Reduce oven temp. to 350°. Remove skins from potatoes, then add flesh to a bowl. Mash potatoes, then add brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, milk, butter, eggs, and bourbon. Stir to combine. Pour sweet potato mixture into a greased casserole dish. Cover the mixture with pecan topping. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until pecans are nice and brown. Best served warm.