Sunday, July 10, 2011

Family Favorites

Everybody has them.  Grandma's pie, Aunt Bertha's pickled beets, etc.  Dishes that show up at family gatherings and become mainstays that are passed down for generations.  A while back, Sara and I were reminiscing over some dishes that really stand out in our minds, and she was telling me about her mom's "Green Chili Mashed Sweet Potatoes."  I was really intrigued by this.  Sara's from northern New Mexico and her family has access to Hatch Chilies, so I can just imagine that these yummies make their way into all kinds of traditional dishes.  Of course, we're used to the more southern (deep south maybe?) version of making sweet potatoes, well, you know--sweet.  With brown sugar, butter, marshmallows, caramelized nuts; even oven fried ones are more likely to get sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  So Sara's mom shared this recipe and I've finally gotten around to trying it out.  We had BBQ beef brisket this weekend with Bleu Cheese Coleslaw, Baked Beans and Sweet/Hot Pickles, so instead of a cold potato salad, I went for this.  I found a small can of mild Hatch chilies at the store--figured I'd better start out mild...

This was SO GOOD!  Boiling the sweet potatoes with garlic is a great start to it's savory trek; nutty Parmesan cheese helps it right along and POP!  The chilies give it a great finish.  I loved keeping it in my mouth and tasting everything coming together.  My hat is totally off to you, Arna Rhodes, for stepping out and trying something non-traditional.

Green Chili Mashed Sweet Potatoes
6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup whole milk or half & half
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Green chilies to taste (I used 2/3 of a 4 oz. can of mild; next time I'll definitely use the whole thing!)

Preheat oven to 350º F.  In a medium saucepan over high heat, place sweet potatoes, garlic, water and 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain well.  Return to pot and add milk and butter and beat with a hand held electric mixer until smooth.  Add cheese and green chilies and beat until fluffy.  Turn sweet potatoes into a 2.5 quart casserole dish lightly coated with cooking spray.  Cover and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. (I have a confession to make:  I just noticed "cover" - I didn't cover!  Sorry!  But you know what--it was great anyway.  It formed a little "film" on the top, not much--and it was lovely!)

Thank you so much for sharing a great family recipe!

Happy eating.

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