Hooray! I’ve got another Thanksgiving side dish for you! The first idea was the shaved Brussels sprouts. And when I shared that post, I wasn’t sure if I was hosting Thanksgiving this year or not. But it has since been decided, and we are definitely hosting this year! This is great news, because we love hosting Thanksgiving. This whole week I’ve been making an inventory or dishes and flatware and linens and seating. And of course, I’m thinking hard about the menu as well.
Much of it our traditional menu is quite established as this point, but there’s always room for another side dish! This year, I feel like I should finally master a sweet potato recipe. I have rarely if ever served sweet potatoes for any meal, Thanksgiving or otherwise. For a long time I thought I wasn’t a fan. But we keep ordering sweet potato fries whenever we go out for burgers, and I’ve realized that if they’re savory/salty, I’m totally into them!
So I asked Liz of Carpé Season for a good, savory, sweet potato recipe, and she totally delivered. Don’t these look amazing?
Where do you fall on sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving? Are they a must-have on your menu? Or do you avoid them? And do go for a more traditional marshmallow topped option? Or do you favor savory, like me? I’d love to hear!
Here’s what Liz says:
I love everything about Thanksgiving. I love how this holiday eases the pain of entering into colder weather by offering us coziness in place of the sun. I love how this day can lead us into more grateful thinking. And I love how the most familiar foods can draw people who should be together around a shared table.
At this stage of my life, I don’t host Thanksgiving. We happily pack our kids up in the van for a trip to grandma and grandpa’s each year, letting seasoned veterans of turkey-making handle what can be an intimidatingly large piece of meat. Someday, I would love to host Thanksgiving. In fact, I have a whole folder of recipes devoted to what I want to someday call Bizarro Thanksgiving — where for just one year, we forsake our beloved traditional Thanksgiving feast for the unconventional, the nontraditional, and make things like curry rubbed turkey and little something I like to call the Stuffed Pumpkin Cave of Wonders. This is also probably why no one in my family is letting me host Thanksgiving at this point.
So for now, I am a side-dish bringer. And I’m happy to be. I’ve made stuffing, and pie, and a few years ago, these bacon-wrapped green bean bundles that still make regular appearances at our dinner table. This year, I wanted to tackle sweet potatoes because it’s just been within the last few years that I’ve learned to really love them. I grew up having them at Thanksgiving, smothered in maple syrup and marshmallows, and was honestly never that crazy about them. But a few years ago, I had them all salty and savory for the first time, and I fell in love.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the traditional foods I grew up on, and maybe Bizarro Thanksgiving isn’t my best idea. But sometimes I think it’s fun to add a new thing to our traditions here and there. And I think this side dish is it. It’s different, unique — but it still holds all the flavors of fall that you’d want at your Thanksgiving table.
This side-dish (or appetizer!) includes roasted sweet potatoes wrapped in bacon. An herbed goat cheese of rosemary and sage gets tucked under the bacon before baking, giving it time to get melty in the oven. The flavors and textures here are just so happy together: sweet, soft potatoes; salty, crispy bacon; and herby, tangy, creamy goat cheese. I love this little side dish and hope that it welcomes you and yours to the Thanksgiving table as only bacon can.
Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Potatoes with Herbed Goat Cheese
(Yields app. 12 wedges, easily multiplied)
1 large sweet potato
2 teaspoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices bacon*
¼ cup softened goat cheese (2 oz. from a log)
1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced (1 teaspoon minced)**
2 fresh sage leaves, minced (½ teaspoon minced)
12 small fresh sage leaves for garnish
*You’ll need a half strip of bacon per sweet potato wedge. If your sweet potato is very large, you may need more than 6 slices of bacon.
**In a pinch, you can substitute dried herbs for both the fresh rosemary and sage. Use a pinch of dried rosemary (about a ¼ teaspoon) and an even smaller pinch of dried sage (⅛ teaspoon at most).
Preheat oven to 400*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel sweet potato, rinse, and dry. Cut in half lengthwise, then into ¼-inch-wide wedges (they can be slightly wider than this, but a ½-inch is too wide and will take too long to cook). Try to make them as evenly sized as possible. (Do this step first so that you know how many bacon slices you will need – you need a ½ bacon slice per wedge.)
Place wedges in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine, and set aside.
Heat frying pan over medium-high heat. Place bacon strips in pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the edges are just starting to brown, but the bacon is still very underdone and pliable. Place bacon strips on a paper-towel-lined paper plate to drain. Once cool, cut each strip in half (crosswise). Set aside.
Meanwhile, combine your goat cheese and herbs.
To assemble, place oiled sweet potato wedges on your parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Place about a teaspoon of the herbed goat cheese mixture on the center of each wedge. Wrap a half strip of bacon around the goat cheese, with the ends meeting on the underside of each wedge. Use a toothpick to secure the bacon by running it through both ends, parallel to the wedge (in other words, don’t pierce the sweet potato).
Bake for 15 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft and beginning to brown on the ends and the bacon is crisp. Remove from pan to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain briefly. Remove toothpicks. Before serving, garnish each piece with a sage leaf by resting it on top of the bacon.
Thank you, Liz! I’m so excited to try these. Ben Blair love anything with goat cheese so I think he’s going to be a huge fan of this recipe. Hooray for Thanksgiving!