We celebrated Thanksgiving early this year. Last night, actually! We had our very special Danish friends over to share a Thanksgiving dinner so they could see what Thanksgiving is all about. It actually started to snow around 4pm and it made for a very hyggelig (pronounced ’hoo-guh-lee’) evening. (See this post to read about hyggelig!)
I made sweet mashed potatoes as a side dish. These are the BEST mashed sweet potatoes you can have. Our guests took second helpings of them! Delicious and simple. When I bake desserts, I admit it’s not always so simple. However, I do keep my cooking simple, when possible.
This recipe has only 4 ingredients – and that includes the salt and pepper. I feel funny even calling this a recipe with so few ingredients. But hey, the most basic and simplest of things are often some of the best.
When I first got to Denmark, I tried making something with sweet potatoes that involved tuna after reading a recipe with both of those ingredients. I thought this: “Hmmm. Odd. This isn’t something I would have thought of. Could this be a good combination? I doubt it. But, I’ll try it. Maybe I’ll be surprised!”
Not so much. It was one of those things where it smelled funky. It felt funkier. It tasted weird, but I knew what I had put in it, so it wasn’t a complete mystery. Although, it sure looked like one on the plate. The bigger mystery was how on earth I could have made it. I have a good sense of what will taste good just from years of cooking and eating. But I made it anyway.
If that wasn’t bad enough, I tried making it again a few weeks later, somehow thinking it needed another chance. What it needed was a clear path to the trash can. My husband and I sat down to dinner and he looked at me and said, “Meow”. This was not a, “This dinner is so good that I must kiss you now.” kind of meow. What he meant was our dinner reminded him of cat food. I had to second that “Meow”. I started singing the Friskies cat food commercial from when I was a kid. “Friskies! What’s got into that cat?!” Good grief. We don’t even have a cat. Why was I feeding my husband cat food? Mom, if you’re reading this: Yes, I did learn how to cook from you. It’s not your fault.
A couple of lessons learned here:
- Enjoy the simplicity of simple things. Not all foods need to be smothered in sauce or combined with other things like tuna (meow)! Some things are lovely solo, in their purest form.
- It’s ok to make mistakes. Learn from those mistakes and don’t make cat food twice. Once is PLENTY.
Instead of boiling the potatoes, I roast them. It really gives them a nice, deep flavor. I’ve tried roasting the potatoes in olive oil, coconut oil, and a combination of the two. However, coconut oil is my pick for roasting sweet potatoes for the smoothness and sweetness it provides. Refined or unrefined coconut oil will work, but I prefer refined coconut oil since it has a very mild coconut flavor.
Before I roast them, I clean them and peel off some skin in strips. You end up with a striped sweet potato. If a sweet potato were to dress up for Halloween, it’d be going as a zebra. I like to leave some skin on since it gives some texture in the mash as well as really good flavor from the roasting process. I don’t like food that I can eat through a straw. If I want to eat something through a straw, I’ll have a smoothie. I like to chew my food and need something to bite. But if you prefer a skinless potato, peel away!
Cut off the tips to get rid of little hard ends. I do that before I roast them since once they come out of the oven, they go straight into a bowl for mashing and you won’t want to be holding a hot potato. Safety first! You’ll want the tips to already be gone.
Take your little zebra potatoes and brush them with the melted coconut oil on all sides. Then they’re ready for roasting.
All you need is a pinch of salt on each serving. Of course, you can add black pepper and herbs, as you like. I usually serve this with meat of some kind (chicken, turkey, pork, or steak) that is seasoned with herbs. So, I usually just use an herb for garnish.
Sometimes a few ingredients are better than just ok. They’re perfect. I hope you enjoy these sweet potatoes any day of the week or with your Thanksgiving dinner.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Yield: Four servings of ¾ cup each
2 lbs. sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a tray with tin foil.
- Wash sweet potatoes and dry thoroughly.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the potatoes, leaving a strip of skin for every peel you make. It should look like a striped potato. Cut the tips off of the potato. Using a fork or knife, poke a few holes in each potato.
- Melt the coconut oil and brush the potatoes all over.
- Bake the potatoes for 45-50 minutes, flipping the potatoes after 25 minutes and rotating the pan if you have hot spots in your oven. This may take longer or shorter, depending on the size of the potatoes. Potatoes are done when you can stick them with a fork and they’re soft inside.
- Once potatoes are done and are still hot, place all of the potatoes in a bowl and mash with a potato masher or large fork. The potatoes will be very hot, so be careful when mashing since they can send potato or moisture at you!
- Once cool enough to eat, add salt and pepper to taste.
- This recipe serves 3-4 people. You can easily double or triple the recipe to serve more people.
- For a smoother texture, blend cooked sweet potatoes with a hand mixer.
- I’ve tried extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. I’ve tried both together. I prefer the coconut oil. It gives it a sweetness that you don’t get from the olive oil.
- I prefer refined coconut oil due to its mild coconut taste. However unrefined coconut oil will work as well.
- I don’t season sweet mashed potatoes with herbs but will sometimes use an herb to garnish if it also compliments the main dish.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (3/4 cup): 233 Calories, 4g Fat, 681mg Sodium, 46g Carbohydrates, 7g Fiber, 13g Sugar, 4g Protein