Oh, you’re going to love this! This hearty casserole made with sweet potatoes, apples, cranberries, bacon, and pecans is the ultimate side dish for Thanksgiving, guaranteed to win everyone’s heart around the holiday table. It’s also stellar as a rib-sticking breakfast. Since it freezes well, I recommend that you make a double batch and tuck some away for Christmas, when things are wild and crazy and time is of the essence.
This will be the dish you are requested to bring to every function you attend, September through February. And not in that polite way: “Oh, Aunt Susie…we’re so glad (cough cough) you’re bringing your famous corn and oysters to Thanksgiving again this year”.
See how short this recipe is? It’s not one of my typical three-page-marathon recipes. You’ve just got to give it a whirl! This dish can be changed to suit your preferences, of course. Double the cranberries, omit the bacon (or try ham), substitute maple sugar for brown sugar, or walnuts for pecans.
If you plan on making this ahead and freezing it, it’s best to do so right after it’s put in the casserole dish, not after it’s baked. Be sure to bake it for at least an hour if your casserole is going straight from the freezer to the oven, and test to make sure the veggies are hot and fork tender.
|Harvest Home Sweet Potato Casserole|| |
- 1½ pounds sweet potatoes
- 2 medium apples, any kind
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup coarsely chopped raw cranberries (frozen berries are fine, too)
- 4 pieces of bacon, cooked and broken into small pieces (optional)
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed firmly
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup miniature marshmallows (optional)
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Peel sweet potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces. Place in medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a full boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain well.
- Peel and core apples. Cut into bite-size pieces.
- Place sweet potatoes and apples in a large bowl. Add melted butter and toss to coat.
- Add all remaining ingredients except for the marshmallows and toss.
- Place in a lightly greased 2½-quart casserole dish, leaving at least ½-inch of space at the top. If you don't have that size, the mixture can be pressed firmly into a 2-quart dish, (any extra can be put in a "bonus" ramekin) or a 3-quart casserole can be used, but it may not need as long in the oven.
- Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. (30 if you are using a 3-quart casserole)
- Remove from oven, fluff lightly with a fork, and cover with marshmallows. Return to oven and cook for 10–12 minutes, or until marshmallows are golden brown.
Here are some of the ingredients. I always use what the grocery stores call “yams” (they’re not, really), with the orange flesh. They really are sweet potatoes, but I believe they are more flavorful than the pale sweet potatoes. Your choice!
The pig wouldn’t cooperate and stay on the table, but bacon (or ham) really jazz up this dish.
If you’re doubling the recipe, use a HUGE bowl for the following step:
In the recipe I mentioned the different options for casserole dishes. A 2 1/2-quart dish is your best bet. I squeezed mine into a very deep pie pan (because it was so pretty) which was fine, but with less headspace, I couldn’t get too carried away with the marshmallows. Boo!
Using a 3-quart casserole means you’ll need to cut the baking time down to 30 minutes, since the ingredients are more spread out. The upside is, you can go crazy with the marshmallows!
If you really want to get fancy, and no—I haven’t tried this yet—spoon the mixture into lightly greased ramekins and let each person have their own mini-casserole.
If there ARE any leftovers, they won’t get pushed to the back of the refrigerator with the dressing and green bean casserole (and those nasty corn and oysters), I promise!
This recipe (tweaked slightly) made its debut in a column I wrote for Yummy Northwest a couple of years ago, showcasing “Bounceberry” recipes, (aka: cranberry recipes).
You may want to take a peek at the archived column for more fun holiday ideas.