Saturday, August 21, 2021

Sweet Potatoes and Orange

A number of years ago I published a cookbook of family favorite recipes, mostly from midcentury, as a way to remember my Dad and to keep the recipes in the family. It's been long enough that it's time to update the book. Part of the update includes getting more picture of the finished recipe into the book, so I've started making some of the recipes for just that purpose.

Tonight we had Sweet Potatoes Margherita, a lovely casserole that has boiled and peeled sweet potatoes (yams actually), a bit of brown sugar and butter, and very thinly sliced oranges. If you can find seedless navel oranges, use them. 

All these elements get layered in a buttered casserole dish and baked. During baking you baste the dish with some of the collected juices/syrup. I made about half the recipe since there are only two of us eating the dish, not a family of eight, nine, or ten people. I also reduced the sugar and butter a bit and removed the pith from the orange slices that were in the lower layer. It helps reduce the bitterness that comes with orange pith, but isn't really necessary to do. What I ended up with was a very fresh tasting dish where you could really taste and appreciate the sweet potato flavor and the oranges. If you make it exactly as the recipe suggests, it will be a bit sweeter and richer and more bitter but still tasty. A lot of people prefer candied sweet potatoes and the given sugar, butter and water will give you a true syrup with lots of orange flavor to complement the sweet potatoes.

Although the recipe was popular before microwave ovens, I suspect that you could substitute sweet potatoes that are washed, poked with the point of a knife to prevent bursting, wrapped in a paper towel to keep moistness, and microwaved until tender in place of the boiled sweet potatoes. Then cool, peel, and continue with the recipe as written.

This is a great Thanksgiving dish, which is when we usually had it, but it goes well anytime with pork chops or roast turkey breast. Add a green salad and you have a meal that can take you back to 1950. Here is how the casserole looked right before baking.

Sweet Potatoes Margherita

Boil 6 sweet potatoes in water to cover until tender. Slice the peeled potatoes and arrange in layers in a buttered baking dish, alternating with brown sugar, dots of butter and slices of orange with peel left on. Add enough water to make a thick syrup. Bake for 1 hour in a 350 degree oven, basting occasionally with the syrup in the dish.

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