Savory Sweet Potato Crumble

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Growing up, we had sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows more times than I can count. They were so decadent and over the top, and while I will never complain about having marshmallows for dinner (the goal was always to end up with as much of the topping and as few of the sweet potatoes on our plates as possible) the sweet potatoes got a little lost under all that sugar.

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I wanted to come up with a recipe for sweet potatoes that were every bit as decadent as the ones my brothers and I loved as kids, but with a more interesting and savory flavor profile for Thanksgiving. This Savory Sweet Potato Crumble hits all those marks – and let’s just say, it goes a lot better with turkey and gravy than marshmallows do.

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The crumble is made with walnuts, flour, fresh sage, brown sugar, Parmesan, a touch of heat from crushed pepper flakes, and of course, a generous amount of butter. It’s essentially a mash-up of Thanksgiving stuffing and a cheesy bread crumb topping. The potatoes underneath are creamy and studded with shallots caramelized in brown butter. Together, the crisp, savory crumble and slightly sweet, oniony potatoes are a winning pair, and you won’t believe how much the house smells like pure Thanksgiving when this dish is in the oven. It is the kind of smell Yankee Candles aspire to, and one that can only truly exist when a pan of something homemade and delicious is bubbling away in the oven.

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Whether you’re cooking for the big night next week, or are in need of a great last minute recipe for your Friendsgiving this weekend, these sweet potatoes are a real showstopper and definitely not your average side dish. (And they don’t just have to be for Thanksgiving, either!)

Savory Sweet Potato Crumble

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs sweet potatoes, scrubbed (6 medium)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 6 large)
  • 9 tbsp (1 stick + 1 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 4 tbsp light brown sugar, divided
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped walnuts
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, divided
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prick the potatoes several times with the tines of a fork, and bake for 1 hour, or until tender when tested with a knife. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 4 tbsp of the butter in a medium (10 inch) sauté pan. Cook the butter over medium-low heat for three minutes, watching carefully, until brown flecks begin to form. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the shallots and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar. Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are tender and lightly browned.  Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the walnuts, flour, Parmesan, sage, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, 2 tbsp of the brown sugar, the remaining 5 tbsp butter, and 1 tsp salt. Using your fingers, pinch the mixture together to form large crumbles. Set aside.
  5. Peel the potatoes and place the flesh in a large mixing bowl, discarding the skin.  With a hand mixer on low speed or a potato masher, beat the potato mixture until smooth. Fold in the shallot mixture, the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar, the milk, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes and 2 tsp salt and combine.
  6. Transfer to a large, shallow baking dish.  Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the potatoes and bake for 30 minutes, until the crumble is browned and the potatoes are heated through. Serve hot.

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