All holidays are fun but there's just something special about Thanksgiving. Maybe it's because it's the start of the holiday season or because it's a cultural holiday that everyone celebrates without any religious separations, but Thanksgiving is my favorite. I love everything about it-the food, the smells, the colors, the traditions. And a Thanksgiving in our family wouldn't be complete without my mom's sweet potato casserole--it's such a wonderful balance to the savoriness of the turkey, stuffing, brussel sprouts and other goodies.
My mom has been making this for many many years now. It's another example of those "unwritten recipes" that everyone has in their family--you know, the ones your mom, or aunt or grandma (and lest I be sexist, dad, uncle or grandpa) make consistently and reliably for holidays. They're usually simple no-fuss recipes that don't require any fancy ingredients but always make you feel warm and cherished and connected.
This casserole really only has five ingredients, sweet potatoes (duh!), butter, brown sugar, crushed pineapple and mini marshmallows, but how they come together will leave you coming back for seconds. It doubles and triples very well if you're having a lot of people for Thanksgiving or just want plenty of leftovers, plus the added benefit of being able to be made the day before and refrigerated except for the browning of the marshmallows which you can do while the turkey rests before carving. And though the marshmallows add an undeniable sweetness to this dish, the pineapple adds a little tang to balance it out.
Because I wanted to share this with all of you, I did a test run this morning, as I've been doing with a lot of other holiday treats so we will be enjoying as my son called it "a blogging pre-Thanksgiving" dinner tonight. I really don't think anyone will mind!
Mom's Sweet Potato Casserole
Serves 8-10, more if you're making a lot of other side dishes
Prep Time: 30 minutes; Bake Time: 30-40 minutes
- 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 small can crushed pineapple in juice, drained (about 1 cup)
- 1 bag mini-marshmallows
1. Fill a large pot with cold salted water, place potatoes in and bring to boil. Cook until potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain in colander and transfer to a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher until smooth.
2. Add in all other ingredients except marshmallows and mix well. Spoon into 9x13 inch baking pan and spread with a spatula so mixture is even.
3. If serving right away, preheat oven to 350ºF. Otherwise cover pan with aluminum foil and store in fridge till ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before baking.
4. Sprinkle marshmallows all over the top and bake in center of oven for 30-40 minutes until marshmallows are golden brown. Serve immediately.
5. Leftovers can be stored in airtight container for 5-6 days in refrigerator.