Since T and I have subscribed to Suburban Organics, we have more vegetables than we know what to do with. I am overwhelmed, even with getting the smallest box we can and skipping occasional deliveries. But on the flip side, I am learning to prepare vegetables – delicious ones – in new and wonderous ways. While I often look into my recipe books or go to simple saute or steaming techniques, or frittatas or what-have-you, occasionally I stumble onto dishes that please my palate in new ways.
Last evening, I unwittingly made a wonderful and amazingly easy preparation of sweet potatoes. Full disclosure – I had to feed the baby while cooking and that is why the milk scalded. I meant to stir the thing, but it didn’t work out. But, this preparation really changes the sweet potatoes by imparting the flavor of the creamily scalded whole milk. On my first taste it immediately me of the Indian dessert Kheer, a thick rice pudding made from slow cooked milk! In this preparation, I used farm-fresh milk which I think was key to the sweetness – the cream separated easily and cooked beautifully at the top of the pot.
And as the final litmus test – was it friendly to the doc’s child? Indeed. My little one who routinely rejects sweet potatoes (don’t know why, but this has been happening lately) – well he was tricked and really enjoyed lapping up the stuff . . and smearing it onto his fingers and face and, inevitably, the floor.
Here is how I did it:
Scalded Sweet Potato Smash
Sweet potatoes, whole milk, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste
(Quantities are not given because I prepared this with approximations – I used three small sweet potatoes and around 2 cups of milk.)
- Chop up peeled sweet potatoes into small cubes.
- Place in pot and add enough whole milk to just barely cover potatoes.
- Add a little salt and pepper and a bay leaf.
- Stir and bring mixture to scalding boil, swish, and allow to boil high for 25 minutes or so until it scalds again and starts to boil over. Just adjust the heat to slightly lower if you are afraid the mixture is rising too fast; it would be a shame to lose that beautiful cream in a full boil-over. But, you do want a scald so that the cream attains a thick caramelly texture. Stir occasionally if desired. Once the cream makes nice thick, slightly brown layer on top you are probably done.
- Remove from heat when you can easily pierce the potatoes. Because of the natural separation of the milk that will occur by cooking this way, you will probably see lumps as you break up the scalded top.
- Mash together gently – I used an immersion blender – and EAT!