It took me a long time to embrace sweet potatoes.
I’m not sure why.
I think I always viewed them as the regular potato’s orange-headed step sister.
Sweet potatoes always seemed to be an excuse to eat marshmallows. Nothing more. But let me tell you, I have a sweet tooth that would put the Stay-Puft man in the witness protection program. I mean, c’mon. I’ve already made homemade marshmallows twice, and they never came in contact with the golden spud.
Eventually, I’m not sure when exactly, I realized that a sweet potato is good on its own. No corn syrup. No sugar. No marshmallows. No casserole.
Now, I love them roasted, fried, and even mashed.
A sweet friend of mine, Annette, told me about a dish she once had that included sweet potatoes and horseradish. So that got me thinking.
When I roast sweet potato chunks, slices or spears I usually dust them with cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper. You need something to offset the natural candy quality. So why wouldn’t horseradish work?
Well, I didn’t have horseradish proper, so I improvised. I used Sriracha, the wonderful sauce made from Thai chiles and garlic. It should be the new ketchup. Heinz, you’re missing out here. Seriously.
Here’s what you need:
3 large sweet potatoes
1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tsp. Sriracha, plus extra for drizzling
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 bunch of green onions, white and green parts chopped
Scrub and peel the sweet potatoes.
Cut them into equal-sized chunks. This ensures that they’ll cook evenly.
Bring the water to a boil and cook till the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Use a knife to pierce the potatoes at the 15 minute mark to check doneness. If the knife goes in and out easily, they’re ready.
Add the cream cheese, the butter, the cinnamon, the Sriracha, a few pinches of salt, and a crack of black pepper.
You want the mixture to be smooth and creamy.
The color is incredible and so is the scent. It’s warm, but your nose gets a slight tickle from the spicy Sriracha.
Serve the mashed sweet potatoes topped with a smidgen of butter, a drizzle of Sriracha, and a sprinkling of green onion.
The whipped cream cheese makes this mound as light as a feather. You get the usual sweet potato casserole warmth from the cinnamon (look at the specks of the spice!), followed by an unexpected kick in the roof of the mouth from the hot sauce. The scallions are a real treat, giving you a slight bite, a nice bit of brightness, and some much-needed crunch.
You could double or even triple the recipe and serve it in a casserole dish or big bowl. It would be a perfect pass-around-the-table side dish for the holidays.
If anything, this is just a pretty dish. Orange, green, red… Hello, Fall!
Tip: Along with the drizzle of Sriracha and the green onions, try topping the mashed sweet potatoes with crumbled crispy bacon.