It's Not Thanksgiving Without...
Sweet Potato Praline Casserole! I got this magnificent recipe from Alex Patout (left), whose family has been cooking for generations in New Iberia, LA.
Sweet Potato Praline Casserole is the best way to serve sweet potatoes I've ever tasted. And best of all, it's easy and you can make it in advance, refrigerate it, and then pop it into the oven right before you serve it. Because it travels well, I usually take it when I need to make something for a family gathering.
But we warned: Make this once, and your family will demand it every holiday. It's that good.
UPDATE: Some listeners are telling me they're having problems accessing Alex's webpage, so I'm posting the actual recipe below:
Sweet Potato Praline Casserole
Ingredients:5 large sweet potatoes or yams, 1/3 cup milk, 1/2 cup (1/4 pound) softened butter, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup light brown sugar, 2 eggs beaten, 1/3 cup melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup chopped pecans
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Scrub the sweet potatoes or yams well and place them in the oven. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes, and remove. When they are cool enough to handle, halve them and scoop out the insides into a large mixing bowl. Mash well. You should have about 3 cups.
Mix the softened butter into the mashed yams or sweet potatoes along with the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and milk. Pour the mixture into a baking pan or casserole dish.
Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar and stir until it dissolves. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it reaches the soft-ball stage on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat and beat in the butter and the chopped pecans. Pour this mixture over the yams. Bake until very hot and beginning to brown.
Serves: Serves 6-8.
Additional Notes: During Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks, the lines form early in front of the restaurant with people and their empty casserole dishes waiting to fill them with this wonderful side dish. Make it for your next family gathering and they'll ask for it every year.