To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)
Before you claim you don’t like sweet potatoes let me confess I use to despise anything that even looked like sweet potato. Annually mom would open up the tin can of sweet potatoes, add in her magic ingredients, top with marshmallows and bake. EVERYONE waited for the baked sweet potatoes to be set on the holiday table. Everyone but me. That was then, this is now.
My sous-chef dish-washing mom is the first to agree that starting with a fresh whole sweet potato is the only way to go. Recently we visited a sweet potato farm and bought several boxes full of sweet potatoes right out of the field! We eat baked sweet potatoes nearly every week with the added benefit that they are actually quite healthy. When writing this blog post I went looking for the fried sweet potato recipe I shared with you earlier. Problem is … I got this photo ready and then didn’t share the recipe!
The fresh sweet potatoes are easy to bake (about an hour at 375 degrees F.) or equally delicious when fried. I like to slice the potatoes 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick and slow fry them in a combination of butter and olive oil. When the potatoes are nearly done I sprinkle a little brown sugar over them and give them a toss. Another 5 minutes cooking and the brown sugar becomes caramelized. I serve them right out of the skillet and that way they stay warm done to the very last one. Betcha can’t eat just one!
My love of sweet potatoes began in 2004 when I moved to Tennessee. It seems that no matter where we eat, the true southern meal includes some version of Sweet Potato Casserole. One bite of the baked whipped potatoes mixed with real butter and topped with brown sugar and pecans and I was all in! No marshmallow top for me — give me the real stuff — butter – brown sugar — pecans oh yum!
My sister-in-law, Liz, stopped by this week and I was anxious to share some of our newly dug sweet potatoes. She said her husband had recently been looking at a recipe combining sweet potatoes, apples and nuts. We all thought that combination sounded great. That very evening my sous-chef dish-washing and sometimes cook mom made up a big ‘ol pan a fried sweet potatoes to go along with our favorite meatloaf. At this point I had visions of sweet potatoes and apples dancing in my head. She made plenty of fried potatoes and so I took the leftovers and made this sweet potato and apple casserole. This casserole is a lighter version of my regular Sweet Potato Casserole. Because my potatoes were already cooked it was so fast and easy. About 10 minutes from beginning to in-the-oven. Thirty minutes later I delighted the Chief and Mom with flavors of fall. The flour, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter topping turned this side dish into an almost dessert … almost.
You can use any variety of apples, whatever you have on hand. I used 2 small Winesap and 1 1/2 Golden Delicious. They were small apples, but oh so tasty!