Fondant Slow-Roasted Sweet Potatoes - with Maple Butter Pecans
Recipe video above. The familiar sweetness of sweet potato gets a boost of savoury by cooking them fondant style: Roasting in stock, long and slow, so the inside turns meltingly creamy and the outsides caramelise. And if that's not enough (and it really is - you can serve it just like that) you've got the option to douse with a Maple Butter Pecan Sauce which elevates it to "wow"!Is it sweet? Yes. But it's counter-balanced by the infusion of savoury in the potato flesh and the nuts. If you prefer some tartness instead, use the Honey Lemon Sauce in this sweet potato salad recipe instead (switch honey with maple!)
Place the potatoes in a large roasting pan or baking sheet with tallish sides (we're adding liquid later).
Drizzle with butter and oil, sprinkle with half the salt and pepper. Squidge around, turn potatoes, sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.
Roast: Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
Turn, continue roasting: Carefully turn potatoes, then roast for a further 15 minutes.
Baste, add stock: Spoon the butter/oil collecting in the pan over the potatoes. Then carefully pour the stock in around the potatoes, and scatter the garlic into the liquid.
Roast to absorb stock: Return to the oven, and roast for a further 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed/evaporated. The exact time depends on the height of pan walls / how heavy-based your pan is etc.
Assemble & serve: Transfer potatoes to serving platter, scraping up some of the pan juices as you go (Note 5), and piling them high on the plate. Pour over Maple Butter Pecan Sauce and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves just before serving. Serve warm - or at room temperature!
Maple Butter Pecan Sauce:
Place pecans in a saucepan or small skillet over medium high heat. Stir for 30 seconds until you can smell the pecans. Add remaining ingredients, then once the butter melts and it starts bubbling, simmer on medium heat for 1 1/2 minutes until it reduces and thickens slightly (it gets thicker as it cools).
Transfer to serving jug. Serve over potatoes.
1. Sweet Potatoes - the more similar the size, the better, so they cook evenly. Leave the skin on - it holds the potato together (plus free extra nutrition).2. Butter and oil are needed to minimise butter burning at the high temp we're roasting in.3. Maple syrup - use pure, not the artificially-flavoured stuff. If you can't find it or it's pricey where you are, opt for honey instead.4. Pecans - this is the chopped volume, so it's a little over 1/2 cup whole pecans. Other nuts that work a treat include walnuts, almonds and pistachios. I'm sure others do too, but these are just the nuts I've tried over the years with this sauce.5. Pan juices - if you're not using the maple butter sauce, then pour over all the residual pan juices over the potatoes. However avoid scraping up any burnt bits from the potato / butter because it will be bitter. If you are using the sauce, you don't need the extra flavour - just use whatever ends up on your spatula (in any case, the base of the potatoes are soaked in pan juices!)6. Storage - best served fresh on the day, either warm (my preference) or at room temp. Roasted potatoes generally don't keep well - they sweat and become quite soggy and ... sad. If you need a sweet potato dish to make ahead, I highly recommend this Savoury Sweet Potato Casserole (it's got browned butter ribboned throughout!!).7. Nutrition per serving, assuming this serves 8, including all the Maple Butter Pecan Sauce. Reduces to just under 200 calories without the Sauce.