Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Thanksgiving Commandments and Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

I'm a Thanksgiving dinner snob. I hope this doesn't hurt your feelings too much. I think that Thanksgiving dinner should be special - really special. I have no desire to have mashed potatoes or green bean casserole for Thanksgiving dinner. I want my Thanksgiving dinner to be filled with delicious dishes that blow my socks off. Things so wickedly delicious that I don't allow myself to eat them at many other meals during the year (or at least in such quantities) *see Commandment #2. Over the years we have accumulated some favorites, but I also like to throw in a couple of new splurges each year.

So I'm not a Thanksgiving traditionalist, but I have developed and now follow my own set of Thanksgiving Commandments. I call these - surprise, surprise -

Karen's Thanksgiving Commandments
  1. Thou shalt always cook the turkey on the grill. Turkeys taste way better this way. Cooking the turkey on the grill guarantees that those people of the house that think they can grill better than you get to cook the turkey. And it leaves the oven available for sides and whatever else I might want to put in the oven.
  2. Thou shalt not over-cook the turkey. Get a decent thermometer.  I thought this was a given, until last year, and somehow one of the turkeys was overcooked . . . so I had to make a rule.
  3. Thou shalt not make side dishes that you can have at any place or time of the year. Sides must be extraordinary. There shalt be at least one sweet potato side and one dressing side, all other sides are decided on by vegetable preference of guests who will be attending.
  4. The sides and turkey shalt be so delicious that they don't need gravy. Therefore gravy is not needed.
  5. Thou shalt serve only rolls or biscuits that are made from scratch and homemade. I don't make rolls because there is enough other food, and I want to eat more dessert.
  6. There shalt be one whole dessert for every individual coming for dinner.
  7. Desserts shalt include all of the Thanksgiving food groups. Chocolate, Pumpkin, Nuts, Fruit, and Cream/Cheese.  Food groups could also be expanded to include Coconut. 
  8. Desserts must be homemade.
  9. Thou shalt not fret over a centerpiece or exquisite table settings. (unless you are crazy about this kind of thing - then it is ok). At my house the food is the decoration.
  10. Thou shalt serve fresh whipped cream. Whipped cream can be flavored with liqueurs, extracts, cinnamon, cocoa, etc.

Since I have already moved into Thanksgiving mode I probably won't be crafting again until after the holiday. It is possible that all my posts through Thanksgiving will be food (insert eating delicious food sounds here).

I'm not a big fan of sweet potatoes and I'm REALLY not a fan of them with sweet and goopy marshmallow stuff all over them. For several years we made Martha Stewart's recipe for Sweet Potato Spoon Bread. This is a fabulous rendition of sweet potatoes, but Mr Quirky wasn't a real fan, so I kept experimenting.

Four years ago I came across a Bobby Flay recipe for sweet potatoes. It sounded pretty good, so I tried it. My sister who loves sweet potatoes enough that this dish was the first thing she tasted, put it in her mouth, started chewing and promptly started moaning and pointing to the potatoes with her fork. "THIS is GOOOOD" she said with awe - and the tone of voice that you use when you are tasting only the very best cheesecake, pasta, chocolate cake or ice cream. It has been our Thanksgiving sweet potato go-to ever since. We kinda cheat now and have it a couple of other times a year, but don't tell Karen's Thanksgiving goddess.

So here is the recipe - 

Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

2 cups heavy cream (see note 3)
1 heaping tbsp chipotle pepper puree
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced 1/8 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Whisk together cream and chipotle puree until smooth

In a 9 by 9 inch casserole dish, arrange the potatoes in even layers.  (see note 2) Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the cream mixture and season with salt and pepper.  Repeat with the remaining potatoes, cream, and salt and pepper to form 10 layers.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes, remove cover and continue baking for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the cream has been absorbed and the potatoes are cooked through and the top is browned. TOTAL COOKING TIME between 1hr 15min and 1hr 30min. (I seem to only catch that first 30 minutes when I'm planning my oven times)

Note:  When you don’t have chipotle cream you can substitute mashed chipotle in adobo sauce. To do this slice 2 of the chipotle peppers into very small pieces. If your family is not crazy for hot, take out about half of the seeds inside the chipotle. Then add a couple of teaspoons of the adobo sauce. This is what I always do. I haven't found the puree before.

Note 2: I have never been able to fit 3 medium sweet potatoes into a 9x9 dish.  You want a certain amount of space above the potatoes and the edge of the pan because the cream simmers up the side of the dish while it is cooking.

Note 3: Cream should come up to at least the next to top layer of potatoes. Buy extra cream in case you need more than the two cups.

You will not regret making this dish. It is to die for.

Make something wonderful today . . . 

and Happy Thanksgiving season!


PS - There will be more info on Thanksgiving desserts to come. Of course.

Sharing at these lovely parties:

I Gotta Try That
French Country Cottage
Craftberry Bush
Rattlebridge Farm


Kathryn J Cain said...

what time is TDay Dinner....only would take about 48 hours of driving...I so can say this Over the River and Through the woods to Grandma's house we TDay my favorite holiday

stephanie said...

So true - what you said. Except I don't have a problem having foods I like at other times in the year. If I like 'em, I'm gonna eat 'em in March, June, whenever. I made sweet potato spoon bread for my last family dinner. It tasted good, but it still never gets firm enough for me until it's two days old. Then it's so delicious. I was invited to a friend's house for her "traditional" thanksgiving dinner. I declined because I don't want to eat canned yams with brown sugar and marshmallows, green bean casserole, dry roasted turkey, and a pumpkin pie from the grocery store bakery. Thanksgiving snobbery is genetic.

Bliss said...

I am happy to report that I follow all the Thanksgiving commandments except I have a variation of #3, #4 is completely abandoned, and #6 but and not for lack of trying. It's simply a storage issue, no place for 30 desserts. I'm also pinning the taters.


Milia said...

I'm fine with all of the old standards but I was going to ask for this recipe. I want to make it for Derick's family for Thanksgiving this year. I don't like sweet potatoes or hot things (so I will take out even more of the seeds than half) but I do love this dish.

Jean @ said...

I agree with you. Not a fan of sweet potatoes, especially when it's covered with marshmallows and brown sugar...yuck! Mr Wonderful is the cook in our house and he LOVES cooking non-traditional things. He's going to adore this sweet potato recipe and I can't wait to try it! We won't be having Thanksgiving dinner at our house, though, so maybe when our kitchen remodel is done we'll try. I'm pinning it, nonetheless!

I Gotta Try That said...

I am so going to try this! Thanks for sharing on "I Gotta Try That" Have a great day!

Little Miss Maggie said...

Sounds delicious, Karen. We are traditionalists for Thanksgiving, but I do make yams and sweet potatoes all year long so I think I must give this a try.


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