Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Molasses Crème Sauce

Last night, Nico and I hosted our New Orleans dinner. I loved this event. It allowed me to bring together my knowledge of French cuisine with a whole new set of flavors.

Sometimes, the dishes for our dinners are planned through researching specific iconic meals, other times, I plan around ingredients. Nico and I visit our local farmer’s market every Saturday. I had some sweet potatoes in the fridge from the previous weekend and figured sweet potatoes are a quintessential American ingredient. I love presentation, and was inspired by some photos of potatoes cut in this manner to create this dish. The flavors come from the tradition of sweet potato pies and casseroles. I added rosemary to tie into some of the other dishes in the main course and to make sure this thing passes as a savory dish.

Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

5 sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cup pecans, crushed to about pea size pieces
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 heaping cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
salt and pepper to taste

Molasses Crème Sauce

2 sticks butter
1/2 heaping cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 pint container of heavy cream
1/4 cup of rum, or however much you like

method:

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Chop sweet potatoes almost all the way through at 1/4-1/6 inch intervals. Do not chop all of the way through. Use a set of chopsticks or a butter knife, set at either side of the sweet potato, to stop your blade. Be careful to chop straight down, it is a bit tricky if you do not have a very sharp knife. If so, make thicker slices to avoid cutting yourself.
    3. Arrange in a castiron pan. Carefully shove pecans into each slit to fan out the sweet potatoes. They will look like giant rolly-polly bugs at this point.
    4. Heat butter and olive oil in a separate pan. Add rosemary and cook for a few minutes until the oil turns greenish.
    5. Add sugar and molasses and whisk vigorously until the sugar melts and the sugars and oils emulsify. Season and pour over the sweet potatoes.
    6. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Check at regular intervals and spoon sauce over the sweet potatoes. They are done when the potatoes are soft and have caramelized a bit on the bottom.
    7. While the sweet potatoes cook, prepare the sauce. Melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar and molasses. Whisk together until bubbles and a bit of foam form. About 3-4 minutes.
    8. Pour in cream and whisk another couple of minutes until it starts to thicken to the consistency of a cream based sauce. Carefully add in the rum and keep whisking.
    9. You can prepare until this step ahead of time. Just reheat the sauce and bake the sweet potatoes for another 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees to warm them.
    10. I brought out the platter with the sweet potatoes and poured the sauce on top to serve. That impresses guests and whatnot, but feel free to pour over right before serving or serve in a bowl with a ladle at the table.

Total time: 1hr 30min

 

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