This Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes recipe is a total knockout – just the right amount of creamy sweetness and a little bit of crunch.
We made this Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes recipe as part of a show called “Outrageous Thanksgiving” on the Food Network. I was managing a catering company at the time, and got a call from the California Sweet Potato Board asking if we could make the largest sweet potato casserole ever created in a week. That was one of those “say yes now, figure it out later” moments for sure.
The first issue was finding something to hold it. It turns out 10-foot long serving dishes that will hold a half-ton of food are hard to come by. Thank goodness my friend Mikey owns a construction company – when I tell you Wil-Mac Construction can build ANYTHING, I really mean it.
Then we had to plan the recipe, which was no short order. The Sweet Potato folks wanted to show off how delicious the spuds are without marshmallows, and the Food Network still wanted the casserole to have an authentic Thanksgiving feel. So, I decided we’d make the casserole in three parts: Marshmallow Rosemary, Butter Pecan (with California pecans, butter and olive oil, naturally) and Gingersnap Cranberry Crumble. When we served the dish to the hungry crowd, they liked the two versions without marshmallows best. I do too.
In addition to the catering crew, the amazing family from Rosenthal Olive Ranch cooked up the casserole with us and contributed several gallons of their incredible estate-grown California olive oil to the effort. If you’d like to score some of my favorite olive oil from some of my favorite people, go here.
Of course this is an ideal Thanksgiving side, but I promise this Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes recipe is fabulous anytime. Also, if you ever need to brulee sugar and marshmallows for 2000 people, I can get you a sweet deal on an industrial-sized food-grade propane torch.
About Sweet Potatoes:
There are several varieties of sweet potatoes, but really two types: orange or white flesh. Orange sweet potatoes are dense, velvety on the inside and sweeter. White sweet potatoes are starchier and more like “standard” potatoes. In either case, sweet potatoes are lower on the glycemic index and higher in vitamin density than other potatoes. That’s why they are included in the Paleo diet and other low-carb diets. This recipe works with either type, but I prefer orange here. (Also, sweet potatoes and yams are NOT the same thing. But that’s a post for another day.) “Sweet potatoes” is also spelled sweetpotatoes – in fact, most sweetpotato farmers will tell you it’s one word, not two.
Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes Recipe
- 8 medium sweet potatoes, 5 lbs.
- 2-3 TBSP olive oil
- coarse sea salt
- 3 TBSP butter, melted
- 3 TBSP brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 c. pecan pieces
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and quarter lengthwise, then cut into cubes about 1/2 inch thick.
- Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on two baking sheets. Toss the potatoes with olive oil and season with sea salt.
- Cook both sheets until potatoes are tender, tossing occasionally, 25-30 minutes.
- Stir the melted butter, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl. Spread the pecan evenly over the sweet potatoes, and then drizzle the butter and sugar mixture over the top. Return to the oven and bake until butter mixture is beginning to bubble and pecans are toasted, about 8-10 minutes.
- Toss the potatoes together in a large bowl and check for seasoning, add more salt if needed. Serve immediately.
Marshmallows have met their match. These sweet potatoes are DELICIOUS.
Want to see us on Food Network’s Outrageous Thanksgiving? You can see a video of that nonsense below:
photos by James Collier
Recipe inspired by: marthastewart.com