Mashed potatoes are one of those foods that I find kind of hard to improve upon. They are already so good, even in their most simple form. Creamy, fluffy and buttery. Seriously, what’s not to love about that?!?!
But despite my deep appreciation for regular mashed potatoes, I decided to switch things up this year at Thanksgiving. I made these Browned Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Oat-Pecan Granola in lieu of our standard side dish. And you know what happened? My family didn’t completely revolt against me. In fact, they even asked for seconds!
I was very relieved!
Thanksgiving is over now, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve missed your chance to make and enjoy this recipe. These Browned Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Oat-Pecan Granola would be great at Christmastime. Or really, for any night of the week when you’re having a cozy dinner at home.
The browned butter is the key ingredient here that takes these mashed sweet potatoes over the top. It’s kind of amazing how something that takes less than 5 minutes to make can give the overall dish such a big difference in flavor. To make browned butter, all you have to do is cook the butter down in a skillet, whisking it so it doesn’t burn, until it smells nutty and toasty and little browned pieces start to form on the bottom of the skillet. Then just stir it into the mashed sweet potatoes for a side dish that’s truly worthy of any holiday table.
I also love a little bit of texture with my mashed sweet potatoes, so I created a quick and easy stove-top granola using a mixture of old fashioned oats and pecans. You could make the granola the day before and store it in an airtight container, if you wanted to save some time on the day of. And feel free to use whatever nuts you have on hand – almonds or hazelnuts would be great here!
For the oat-pecan granola:
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup pecan halves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed and at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the mashed sweet potatoes:
- 3 pound sweet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed and at room temperature
Make the oat-pecan granola:
- In a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat, combine the oats, pecans, salt and cinnamon. Cook, stirring constantly, until the pecans are fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract and cook for about 2 minutes more, stirring constantly to make sure everything is evenly coated and doesn’t burn. Remove the skillet from the heat. Transfer the granola to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet to cool.
Make the mashed sweet potatoes:
- Meanwhile, place the cubed sweet potatoes into a large pot and add just enough cold water to submerge them by about 1-2 inches. Cover and place the pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then remove the cover and turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook the sweet potatoes, uncovered, until they are soft and can be easily pierced with a small paring knife, about 20-25 minutes. Drain the sweet potatoes and then immediately add them back to the still hot pot, which will help to evaporate off any excess water.
- Add the milk, maple syrup, salt, and black pepper to the sweet potatoes, and Then use a hand mixer to mash the sweet potatoes and fully incorporate the ingredients. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
- In a medium-large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it’s almost completely melted, start whisking the butter constantly, cooking it until it foams and starts to turn brown and smell nutty, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Add about three-quarters of the browned butter to the mashed sweet potatoes, making sure to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet, and stir to combine. Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes to a serving dish. Top with the oat-pecan granola and drizzle with the remaining browned butter. Serve immediately.