Tag Archives: Sweet Potatoes

Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans

16 - Sweet Potatoes & Pecans 2Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans

Did Thanksgiving creep up on you this year like it did to me?  I felt like it was just sort of hanging out there, lurking in the corners, and then after all the drama we’ve had around here with the hurricane and then the Nor’easter it waited until just the right moment to pounce on me, “Ta DAH!  Remember me?  It’s holiday season again!”  (kinda sorta like we used to hide and then jump out of the dark shadows to scare the pants off of my younger siblings when we babysat them).  So, if you’re still pulling together that menu for tomorrow and are looking for colorful side dishes for that holiday table, here’s the recipe for Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans I came up with last year when I was invited to a potluck holiday dinner.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

This vegetable side is a combination of savory with a mild sweetness and hints of citrus and spice so that it balances out all the other foods that you might have on your table.  By using chicken stock to make the mixture creamy, I also limited the amount of butter that I put in the mashed up potatoes, keeping the dairy indulgence for the regular spuds or another helping of pie.  It is easy to transport to a potluck holiday dinner and can be made in advance and reheated just before serving it.  One of the best parts of this dish, too, is that the leftovers can be used to make these Sweet Potato Pancakes for breakfast the morning after Thanksgiving.  I might have to make a batch of this just so that I can have the extras to do just that.

Sweet Potatoes

Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans

Prep Time: 1 hour, more or less

Serving Size: 8-10 (see what to do with the leftovers)


4 large Sweet Potatoes

1/2 c. Chicken Stock, warmed up

3 Tbsp. unsalted Butter

1 Tbsp. Orange Zest

1/2 Orange, juiced

2 tsp. Chinese 5-Spice Powder

1/4 tsp. ground Ginger

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 pinch Black Pepper

Candied Pecans for garnish (recipe below)

1/2 c. Pecan halves

1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

1/4 tsp. Salt


Peel the sweet potatoes and cut in to large chunks.  Place in a large pot of cold water and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down, allow the water to simmer, and cook the potatoes through until they are tender.  You can also cook the potatoes in the microwave until tender, if you prefer.

Cooked Potatoes

With a fork or potato masher, smash up the potatoes until they are relatively smooth with almost no lumps.  Pour in the chicken stock and stir to combine with the potatoes.  Then, mix in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, making sure that the butter is fully incorporated.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Butter

Add the orange zest and juice, the spices, and the salt and pepper and mix well.  Taste.  Adjust the seasoning as necessary.  The flavor should be slightly citrusy, mildly creamy, and have a pleasant backnote of warmth and spice tones.

Mixed Sweet Potato Mash

Spread the potatoes evenly into a baking or serving dish.  This recipe made a good-sized portion of a sweet potato side dish plus some leftovers.  It can be made in advance and then reheated just before it is served.

Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Before serving it, decorate the top with the Candied Pecans.  Make a few extras to nibble on while waiting for the guests to arrive.

Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Serving Size: 1/2 cup


1/2 c. Pecan halves

1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

1/4 tsp. Salt


Place pecans in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Dry roast them for a couple of minutes until they just start to change color and become fragrant.  Toss them briefly to make sure that they pick up a bit of color on the other side as well.  Then, turn the heat down to medium-low and pour in the maple syrup.  It will bubble up.  Stir immediately with a wooden spoon to make sure that all the pecans are coated in the syrup, but don’t let them clump together.

Let the mixture cook for about 30 seconds to allow the syrup to stick to the pecans.  Turn off the heat, and add salt to season.  Please let the pecans cool down before testing them as they’ll be very, very hot coming out of the pan.  Cool on parchment paper, separating the pecans so that they don’t end up in one giant, sticky mass.

Candied Pecans

Buon appetito e Buona Festa!

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Pecans

Now, that you’ve picked over the turkey carcass, made sandwiches of mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry, and stuffing, and finished off the last of that pie, there’s just a few things left to polish off from this year’s Thanksgiving feast.  One of these is likely to be the remnants of the sweet potato dish.  For the potluck I went to this year, I was asked to bring along a creation using this vegetable.  I had about a cup of the potatoes that didn’t fit in to the serving platter I was bringing to the party.  So I decided to whip up a batch of Sweet Potato Pancakes using the leftovers.

Cooked Sweet Potatoes

The original batch of sweet potatoes was cooked until completely tender and then mashed with a fork.  I added a few tablespoons of butter and about half a cup of chicken stock to it as well as some Chinese 5-spice powder, ginger, and salt.  As a finishing touch I mixed everything with grated peel of one orange and half an orange worth of juice.  The idea was to make a side dish that was savory with a bit more depth than the usual marshmallow-topped platter that graces holiday tables.  You can use plain mashed sweet potatoes in this recipe, but adding some of these extra flavors works well in the pancakes.

Unadorned pancakes

This experiment worked out to be a tasty, post-Thanksgiving breakfast and was much more fun to try than the Turkey Curry I made last year.  I’m almost tempted to make extra sweet potatoes in the future when I’m preparing them for any dish just so that I can make these pancakes again.  I might also see if I can turn the leftovers into muffins so that I can freeze them and hang on to the flavors of fall for a bit longer.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Syrup & Pecans

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Prep Time:  20 minutes (minus time cooking potatoes)

Serving Size: 4 people (unless they are really hungry)


2 Tbsp. unsalted Butter

1 Egg White

1 whole Egg

1 c. whole Milk

1 cup prepared Sweet Potatoes*

1 1/4 c. all-purpose Flour

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Sugar

Canola oil (for cooking pancakes)

Maple Syrup and Pecan Halves to serve


Melt butter in a heat-proof container.  While the butter is cooling, put egg white and white from whole egg into a bowl.  Set aside the egg yolk.  Whip the egg white until it is frothy.  In a large bowl, mix together milk, egg yolk, and butter. Add sweet potatoes and stir, making sure that there are minimal lumps.

Wet ingredients

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Mix together flower, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Dry ingredients

Take the bowl with the dry ingredients and start to whisk them little by little into the wet ingredients until they are thoroughly combined and there are no lumps.  Add frothed egg white (and any liquid that has separated) and mix everything together until the batter is smooth.

Finished batter

Get a griddle or frying pan nice and hot.  Pour a little canola oil on the griddle, enough to create a thin film on the surface.  With a ladle or spoon, scoop about 2 Tbsp. batter into a mound on the griddle.  Make sure to space the pancakes far enough apart so that they don’t touch.

Pancakes on the griddle

When bubbles appear on the top of the pancakes, check the underside to see if it is cooked and just lightly browned.  I like to let mine get a little extra crispy around the edge, but I am related to people who will eat them only if they are pale as snow.  Flip them over to cook for about a minute or so more on the second side.

Pancakes ready to be flipped over

When the pancakes are cooked through, remove them from the griddle and serve them immediately.  Pour maple syrup on top and sprinkle them with pecans.

Buon appetito!

*Prepared sweet potatoes:  Take one cup of the sweet potatoes, add 1 tsp. orange zest, 1 tsp. orange juice, and 1/2 tsp of mixed spices (Chinese 5-spice powder, pumpkin pie spice or a mix of your favorite spices) OR use whatever leftovers you have from Thanksgiving dinner, minus the marshmallows.