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Pureed Sweet Potatoes

I’m not calling them mashed, because they come out a lot better if you run them through a food mill or something similar. That takes out all those little strings and funny lumps in sweet potatoes. You could mash them if you don’t have a mill without a loss in flavor, however. It’s mostly a texture thing.

Absolutely the best way to cook sweet potatoes for mashing is to microwave them. There’s only one problem with that approach: no two microwave oven function the same way. The worst example of this I know is a microwave oven at the radio station, which brings one cup of water to boiling and making a mess after just a minute and a half. The one I use to test this recipe did the job in about two and a half minutes. Test yours with water before following the instructions here, and adjust accordingly.

One more matter: when you buy the sweet potatoes, try to get them all the same size. Otherwise, the yams will cook unevenly.

Sweet Potatoes

  • 5 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2/3 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half, warmed
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Zest from two oranges
  • Pinch ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. Bourbon whiskey
  • 3 Tbs. cane syrup
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

1. Prick the sweet potatoes about six times with a kitchen fork Place the sweet potatoes on the turntable of the microwave oven like the spokes of a wheel, atop a layer of paper towels.

2. Microwave on high for seven minutes, then turn them over (careful–they may be very hot). Microwave another seven minutes. Let them stand in the microwave for about seven more minutes, then check to see if they’re soft. If not, microwave in two-minute bursts until the potatoes are fully soft.

3. As soon as the potatoes have cooled enough to safely handle, scoop them into the food mill and crank them through into a bowl. Add the butter and the cream, and whisk until blended. Add all the other ingredients, and whisk until smooth.

If you want to add an extra layer of fanciness, you can load the sweet potatoes into a shallow glass baking dish, sprinkle a little brown sugar over the top, and bake it again until a crust forms. (You could also add miniature marshmallows if your taste runs to high camp.)

Serves eight.

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