Thursday, November 17, 2011

The World's Best Sweet Potatoes-Mom's Orange Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Thanksgiving has become a family affair of a different sort for my clan.  We live clear on the other side of the country from our loved ones and have for the past ten years.  Traveling "home" for the short holiday weekend is pretty near impossible and all that time on an airplane with two little ones in tow doesn't seem like a whole lot of fun either.  So we save the trip back to New Jersey for Christmas when we can really spend enough time there to make the hassle of standing in the security lines at LAX worthwhile.  And we reserve Thanksgiving for spending with the family we've been gifted by my husband's service in the Navy.  Over the years our family of friends has developed our own traditions and memories that have become very special to us.
This year we will make a longer trek than we usually do- from Southern California to Northwest Washington.  But the travel time will be well worth it.  And I know that when we get there I will be thankful for the time spent with my family and for the friends that welcome us with open arms.
This recipe has become part of our Thanksgiving tradition.  My friend Kelley said she might consider turning me away from her door if I didn't have it with me.  Of course she's kidding.  But over time we have found a menu that works for us, and as I said in my post about my new cranberry sauce recipe, there are a few things that we all want on the table every year.  My mom's sweet potatoes, my mother in law's wild rice casserole, Kelley's dad's stuffing, and her chocolate sauce.  No negotiations.  And I'm happy to oblige.  These sweet potatoes have been on my family table for as long as I can remember and, honestly, if there was nothing but these potatoes and dessert I'd be a happy girl.  I love them so much I eat them cold for breakfast the next morning.  They're the best (but of course, I might be a bit biased!).
Mom's Orange Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Serves 6-8
These are my mom's exact directions, only slightly edited.  Thanks Mom!

4 medium-large sweet potatoes ( I like to mix different types of sweets, such as the orange fleshed and yellow fleshed ones)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbs. honey
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
zest of 1 orange

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Peel potatoes and rinse.  Cut the potatoes into thick slices lengthwise and then into sticks about 1 inch thick (they should look like fat french fries).

On the stove top, melt the butter in a large roasting pan and add the potatoes.  Saute them over med heat, stirring frequently until the potatoes begin to brown.  Sprinkle with the brown sugar, honey, orange juice and peel.  Toss the potatoes well.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Uncover and continue baking 20 to 30 minutes more, until potatoes are tender (not all potatoes are created equal, so sometimes it doesn't take this long).  Check frequently for the depth of tenderness you want in your potatoes.  Baste often with pan juices- you may sometimes need to add more brown sugar and butter if the pan gets dry.  You want the sweet potatoes to have lots of juices to cook in!

Serve alongside your favorite turkey and fixings.  

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

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