Growing up, we had sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows more times than I can count. 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.
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. If you're looking for a great twist on traditional holiday sweet potatoes, these are a real showstopper and definitely not your average side dish. (And they don’t just have to be for Thanksgiving, either!)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Prick the potatoes several times with the tines of a fork, and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel and discard the skins.
Meanwhile, make the brown butter shallots. Heat 4 tablespoons 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 add the shallots and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar. Lower to the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, until the shallots are tender and lightly caramelized. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the walnuts, flour, Parmesan, sage, ¼ teaspoon of the red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, the remaining 5 tablespoons butter, and 1 teaspoon salt. Using your fingers, pinch the mixture together to form large crumbles. Set aside.
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, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 2 teaspoons salt, and combine.
Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Transfer the potato mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the potatoes and bake for 30 minutes, until the topping is browned and the potatoes are heated through. Serve hot.
Note: The crumble can be assembled up to the point of baking and stored in the refrigerator, covered, overnight. It may take a few extra minutes in the oven.
I do recipe testing and social media for Ina and love to cook for my friends on the weekend. Ina has given me lots of tips for easy cooking and entertaining, and I'm excited to share them with you here!