Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pistachio Crust – Save the Mini Marshmallows for Your Hot Chocolate!

Of all the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes, sweet potato casserole scares me the most. Luckily, for the vast majority of holiday meals, I’ve been the one who got to decide on and cook the menu. But there have been the rare occasions when I’ve been a guest at someone’s home, and subjected to the horror that is the mini marshmallow-topped dish of sweet potatoes.

Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to food, I’m as opened-minded as anyone...hey, one time, I actually ate a McRib...but I just don’t understand taking something already as sweet as sweet potatoes, and topping it with one of the sweetest ingredients ever.

Sure, my topping has some brown sugar in it, but I think it’s balanced nicely by the crunchy savoriness of the pistachios. I also forgo the usual scoop of sugar in the filling for a much smaller amount of maple syrup (which, contrary to what you learned in school, is a one-syllable word).

The result is a rich and decadent, yet not cloyingly sweet side dish. By the way, as I mention in the video, the sweet potatoes I used may be called “yams” at the store, but the fact is that all yams sold in American supermarkets are really varieties of sweet potatoes.

Having said that, my recommendation is for using “Garnet Yams,” if you can find them. If you can’t, literally any other variety will do. I hope you give this great side dish recipe a try. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
For the sweet potatoes:
2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes
salt to taste
2 tbsp butter
2 large eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of allspice
pinch of cayenne
For the pistachio crust:
1/2 cup chopped pistachios (I used roasted, salted)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsp melted butter

51 comments:

JoAnn said...

Brilliant flavor combination. Will add to my Thanksgiving menu.
Thanks Chef!!!

Monica said...

that appears to be a definite improvement over that awful marsh, mallow junk. Personally I prefer roasted potatoes and roasted parsnips,

etamar said...

dear chef, you have my deepest respect, though i have to say that the combanaition of sweet potato
and pistachio does sound a bit odd...
happy thanksgiving!
yours,
etamar( the guy that hates parsly)

Anonymous said...

I do HATE those little marshmallows on my sweet potatoes. Where in the heck did that get started anyway?
I want to try this but wondered if you think the lighter sweet potatoes would work as well. I just happen to like them a little better.
Jackie

Dawn's Recipes said...

Nasty! The only things marshmallows belong on are s'mores and hot cocoa. This pistachio topped version looks absolutely DIVINE! I'm thinking of making it and surprising everyone at my mother-in-law's house with it this Thanksgiving.

Vinny from NH said...

Hi Chef! We're putting together a "Friends Thanksgiving" and we'll be using a lot of your recipes - including this one. One problem... do we use the tangerine, mango bango, or your simple cranberry sauce. Meh, we'll just make them all!
Thanks for the recipes!

MaryEQuilter said...

I just found your blog - actually looking for Kale recipes! But this is wonderful. We have a great family sweet potato casserole my sister-in-law makes - thank goodness no marshmallows, but this is a great alternative. I will be back!

Food Junkie said...

I don't hate sweet dishes but given a choice I will default to savoury or spicy over sweet. Thankfully sweet potatoes with marshmallows are NOT widely popular at Canadian Thanksgiving. This is a sweet potato dish I might actually enjoy.

Grandma Honey said...

I made these tonight just like you said (except I had no allspice or cayenne), and we LOVED it. THIS will be our new sweet potato dish on Thanksgiving. The flavor was just right...not too sweet...the topping made it perfect!

Matt D said...

He said dic-tator. THAT was funny. Glad I wasn't drinking milk.

Rita said...

this recipe is not good for people like me who is allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts. ugh! that said, do you have any other good alternative for the pistachio?

Chef John said...

Maybe corn nuts? You can just skip them too.

Food Junkie said...

Wheat nuts might be a passable substitute for pistachios. I don't know if they are made in a nut free facility but they have a good crunchiness that might work if they can stand up to baking.

Rita said...

AHAHAHAHAHA! corn nuts. that's cute, chef J. just thought of this - would panko work?

~*~*~*~*~

@food junkie - thanks for the tip. really appreciate it. i'll just have to read the label before purchasing.

Jank1114 said...

When you post these recipes can you also include written directions that we could print out?

Chef John said...

I don't have/use written recipes. Also, I type so slowly that I don't feel like doing that late at night after spending so many hours working on these free videos. But, if you are welcome to type them up and post as a comment, which viewers have done in the past. Thanks!

Gayla said...

With minor substitutions (like vegan sour cream instead of buttermilk) I was able to make this vegan and it was really good for anyone - vegan or not.

Anonymous said...

Chef, you are just amazing! One of my in-laws (claims) is allergic to pistachios when I mentioned making this for Thanksgiving. Could I substitute pecans instead?
THANK YOU!

Chef John said...

Yes, then I would. ;)

Eileen G. said...

Cant wait to make this! Thank you!

Ingredients:
For the sweet potatoes:
2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes
salt to taste
2 tbsp butter
2 large eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of allspice
pinch of cayenne

For the pistachio crust:
1/2 cup chopped, crushed pistachios (I used roasted, salted)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350.
Peel, chop and boil sweet potatoes over high heat, salting water well. When they are tender, drain and add butter. Mash and set to side.
Whisk eggs, syrup, buttermilk, milk, vanilla, salt, allspice and cayenne together. Slowly add potatoes to mix in spoonfuls (temper) – place mixed mixture in a 2 ½ quart casserole dish allowing space for crust.
Combine pistachio crust ingredients, mixing well, and top casserole carefully. When evenly distributed, gently press crust down.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned on top. Optional: brown under boiler for one minute. Let rest before serving.

JenniferJuniper said...

Hey Chef John,

Long time vlog watcher, first time commenter. Love your videos! Thank you so much for doing what you do! One of my in laws actually sent me an email asking if I could bring a "yam dish" when I come for Thanksgiving and I was immediately glad I remembered you made this video. I've never been a fan of marshmallow topped 'yam' casseroles and I'm excited to try this out! Thank you!

Quick question: We have around a two hour drive or better( to get to the family dinner and when we get there most or all of the food is supposed to be prepared so I don't want to cook it before hand and be forced to reheat but I don't know if I'll have much time to prepare it there. What's my best option? Can I assemble it most the way and bake it there? Would it be best just to reheat it?

Chef John said...

Just reheat it there! It will be much easier and taste the same.

JenniferJuniper said...

Thank you for the advice and for your prompt response!

Kyle said...

I love your blog and have a list of your recipes my wife and I are eager to make. We just made this one this morning for a family dinner, the topping is fabulous but the sweet potatoes are a little bland. We more family coming for Thanksgiving and we'd like to try again...does anybody have tips to bring the flavor of the sweet potatoes out a bit more?

Grandma Honey said...

Kyle: I guess to each his own, but we loved it just the way it was. I wouldn't want the potatoes to be spicy at all or it would drown out that wonderful crust.

Rachel said...

Kyle, you might try upping the allspice just a bit (leave the cayenne as is) and adding a little chopped ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, and/or a splash of Angostura bitters. Not too much, keep it deep, complex, and mysterious. I'm making it vegan, and will use soaked flax seed meal in place of egg, lemon to make it tart, no need for milk.

Scott R said...

Hi Chef John,

Making this for Thanksgiving. Can I make this the night before and reheat?

Will the reheat ruin the crusty top?

Advice would be much appreciated!

Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,

I was also wondering something similar to Scott R., can I do everything else the night before and pop it in the oven the day of? Would you recommend leaving the topping off until cooking time?

Thanks in advance if you find the time to respond! Love your videos, made your pot roast recently. It was fantastic! :)


-Laura

Chef John said...

This is foolproof in that you can make ahead and reheat, or make ahead and cook when needed. It's not like the top stays that crispy anyway.

Anonymous said...

Perfect! Thanks!


-Laura

Anonymous said...

Made this for an early Thanksgiving dinner but used yellow sweet potatoes and pecans (because I didn't have pistachios). This is the first time that my sweet potatoes were totally gone. Man were they good!
Thanks so much for this recipe. It's my new traditional dish.
Jackie

Anonymous said...

This was a huge hit at my family thanksgiving, even with the family that didn't like sweet potatoes! Absolutely delicious! Thanks Chef John =)

Anonymous said...

Hello Chef John,
Review of French Onion Green Bean Casserole and Sweet Potato Casserole with Pistachio Crust. I made both of these dishes for this Thanksgiving (2011) and they were excellent. Thanks John for these superb versions; far superior to any recipe I have tried so far. These will remain on my company dinner and holiday menu lists. Thanks again!

SB said...

The Sweet Potato with Pistachio crust was a huge hit at our Thanksgiving dinner. Thank you Chef John!

Okke Duursma said...

Just wanted to comment that this dish was a hit here as well. Very tasty and SUCH and improvement over the standard version with marshmallows! Love the pistachio crumb topping and also the flavor of the sweet potatoes. Not too sweet, just perfect.

Michelle said...

I made this for Thanksgiving, and I'm making it again tonight by request. It was a huge hit! Also made the Cabernet Cranberries and used your Roasted Turkey recipe/instructions from About.com (it was perfect). Thanks for making our Thanksgiving delicious!

Heidi said...

One of my Thanksgiving guests was telling a friend about the wonderful sweet potatoes she had at our house. HER friend said that her sister in law brought the best sweet potatoes that she had ever had...with a pistachio crust! Kevin Bacon must be around here somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John...I have a question about the buttermilk...I hate to waste food and money, which usually happens when I buy buttermilk since the recipes usually call for just a little. Is is using that powdered buttermilk mix a totally horrible idea? I'm sure the real thing is better, but is using the powdered kind as a substitution really an option?

Chef John said...

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the product!

makeupbyaurelie said...

i tried this once and it was absolutely amazingly divine! but it's a side dish, so with which dish do you served this one? i made chicken but i don't know... it's sweet... what can i serve it with?

Thanks for all Chef John, you are amazing!

Anna said...

Southern cooks use this recipe with a pecan topping - also a winner. But I can't wait to try this pistachio topping. My father-in-law loves pistachios, and this will be fun to make for him and my mother-in-law.

Anna said...

To anonymous:

Experiment using the buttermilk in other recipes. For example, it makes macaroni and cheese delicious. We use buttermilk in our cornbread recipes, biscuits, to make salad dressings, cakes and I haven't tried it, but a popsicle recipe of creamy fruit uses buttermilk instead of yogurt.

DubaiDavid said...

We went to an "extended" family Thanksgiving and brought this dish with us. With so many family members each bringing two or three side dishes, the four tables and kitchen island were full of "competing" plates. After a thorough gorging by all, everyone was asked to select their favorite side dish. And this dish took first overall! Thanks Chef! It's a winner.

Jackie Reynolds said...

Hi Chef John,
I LOVE this casserole and have made it the last 2 Thanksgivings. This year I want to make it again, but my small problem is that I have a person with a severe nut allergy coming to dinner so I have removed all nuts from the menu. Well, except for an uncle whom will remain anonymous. Anyway, what do you think about substituting oatmeal for the pistachios? A better idea?
Also, I'm thinking of putting in some dark rum or bourbon. What do you think?
Thanks so much for your blog. It's my go to site. You're simply the BEST.
Jackie

Jackie Reynolds said...

Oh yeah, I will be feeding about 25 people. Do you think a double recipe will suffice?
Thanks again.
Jackie

Chef John said...

Not sure about the oatmeal. Doesn't sound too good to me. Replacing nuts is hard, since nothing like them! What about corn nuts?

2 would be close for 25, since one served about 8-10.

Jackie Reynolds said...

I'm going to try the corn nuts idea,. Thnaks for the suggestion!
Jackie

Jackie Reynolds said...

I'm making the casserole for tomorrow--an early TG celebration. A friend suggested crushed ginger snaps, so that is what I am going with. Not that I didn't like your corn nuts idea but the ginger snaps won the vote with the family. I'll report back.

Syed Ahmed said...

Thank you so much for all of your recipes, you have thought us to cook. Love the way you explain in the video. Thanks again for your kind work. Syed

Jackie Reynolds said...

So I tried the crushed ginger snaps and it was a big hit.

beatriz padron said...

This is my husband's favorite dish. Every time I want to impress guest for dinner, I make this delicious dish. Always get a compliment and asked for the recipe. Follow the instructions step by step and you can't go wrong!!! Enjoy