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A Local Thanksgiving

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Susie Dare, Cherry Lane Farm  

Maple-Whipped Sweet Potatoes

THE CHEF:
Marc Forgione
(Forge)
“I always had whipped sweet potatoes with maple syrup as a child on Thanksgiving” says Marc Forgione, who shares a cooking philosophy with his father, ingredient-driven chef Larry Forgione of An American Place. For this dish, Forgione Jr. tweaked his father’s recipe by adding hazelnut brown butter, which has an earthy, nutty flavor, to balance the sweetness of the syrup.

THE FARMER:
Susie Dare
(Cherry Lane Farms) Bridgeton, N.J.; 856-455-7043
Susie Dare, who runs an 87-acre family farm with her son Lewis DePietro, has found an enemy in Bambi. “This year was excellent for growing, but the deer were worse than ever; they were quite voracious.” One of the animal’s favorite vegetables is the sweet potato, and whole crops can be lost when the deer eat out the potato tops. Happily, Dare and DePietro managed to outplant their foes’ appetite. Dare credits southern New Jersey’s rich soil for the special flavor of her potatoes. “Also, my farm used to be a dairy farm, and so was well fertilized,” she says.

THE RECIPE:
6 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Salt and black pepper

HAZELNUT BROWN BUTTER
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 medium shallot, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the potatoes and pierce them with a fork. Bake for about 1 hour or until soft when pierced with the point of a knife. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter, sour cream, and maple syrup and pulse until the potatoes are smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a casserole, cover, and keep warm until ready to serve.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until pale golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the hazelnuts and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the nuts are golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the shallot and parsley and cook until just softened, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the sauce is to be reheated just before serving, the parsley should be added at this stage to keep it fresh and green. Drizzle the hazelnut butter over the top of the sweet potatoes and serve.


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