It’s not Thanksgiving dinner without sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are one of my very favorite side dishes. They, with the cranberry sauce, provide my Thanksgiving meal with the sweet and savory balance that my palate craves. I grew up, like many of you, with the toasted marshmallow topped version. How could any kid resist that? (Hmm, I just realized that my kids have never had that version…I think I’ll have to make it for them at least once to insure their childhood is complete ;) Then, I graduated to a more “grown up” version that was mashed with brown sugar, butter and spices and topped with candied pecans. Just last year, I decided to try something new (you can see my loyalties last forever with these dishes since I’m only on my third iteration.) Let’s give a big welcome to Orange Vanilla Glazed Sweet Potatoes topped with candied pecans.
As you can see, I carried over the candied pecans from my last recipe tradition because they were too good to leave behind. They are so easy to make and smell so good when they’re cooking; they really are their own “thing.” I mean, they make a great snack, and trust me I had to keep telling everyone to stop taking samples every time they walked by or I wouldn’t have enough to top my potatoes. Actually, that really wouldn’t have been an issue. I made a full batch of the pecans and only a half batch of potatoes since it wasn’t really Thanksgiving the day I made this recipe (and that delicious stuffing I posted earlier this week.) That’s why it looks like the pecans go on for miles in the picture but there’s clearly only a generous handful on the potatoes.
Okay, now that we’ve got that explained, let’s chat more about the pecans. They would be great on a salad, or on top of oatmeal (yum!) and of course on top of ice cream…yep, plenty of uses for those pecans. I snapped a photo before they got chopped up just so you could see them in all of their yummy glory. You might want to make a double batch so you have extra.
The potatoes are baked, peeled and sliced, then bathed in a delicious glaze. The orange juice and zest give this dish a wonderful freshness and help balance the sweet vanilla bean, brown sugar and butter in the glaze. I used vanilla bean paste, but you can use regular vanilla extract. If you happen upon the paste, pick it up. It won’t go to waste. You can use it every where you use vanilla and especially in recipes where you want to see those lovely little flecks of vanilla bean.
I know I said in the stuffing post that we were over some of the Thanksgiving food I made early for the blog. But, a few more days have passed and looking at all these orangey glazey potatoes and writing about how good they are…
Well…I think I’m not so over them now.