Drunken sweet potatoes

The most memorable Thanksgiving dish I recall from childhood wasn't my mom's turkey, fabulous oyster stuffing, candied yams or pumpkin pie. It was her festive relish tray.

The patchwork of black olives, spiced cranberries, sweet gherkin pickles, homemade pickled watermelon rind and pickled herring, my dad's personal favorite, was a feast unto itself. Those one-bite delights offered a crisp and tangy contrast between nibbles of mashed potatoes and green bean casserole that accompanied the bird. The relish tray made a lasting impression, and to this day provides me with comfort and familiarity of carrying forward a family tradition.

But when my sister called me to make menu arrangements this year, she assured me the relish tray was covered. Would I please make my brandied sweet potatoes? she asked, a dish I have made every Thanksgiving and Christmas for at least 23 years.

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

Brandied Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes
2/3 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 c. water
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. seedless raisins
1/4 c. cognac

Wash the sweet potatoes, but do not peel them. Boil in water to cover until barely soft, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and peel. Slice into a greased casserole. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring the brown sugar, water, butter and raisins to a boil. Add the cognac and pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, basting several times with the syrup in the casserole.

Serves four.

1 comment:

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