Rosemary Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans Candied in Cinnamon Sugar
I love this sweet potato casserole! It has a savory base of mashed sweet potatoes with plenty of rosemary and a hint of brown sugar, and is topped with pecans candied in cinnamon sugar. It’s an easy side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or you can halve the recipe for a weeknight. The best part is you can make it ahead and reheat in the oven!Note: Since this does not require baking, it is not technically a casserole. But that just saves you space in the oven, and it's just as pretty and delicious!
5lbssweet potatoesabout 6-7, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2cupmilkplus more if needed
3tbspfresh rosemaryfinely chopped
1-1 1/2tspkosher saltto taste
1tspfreshly ground black pepper
For the candied pecans
2cupspecan halvesabout 8 oz
For the candied pecans (can be done days in advance)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 or larger baking sheet with parchment paper and pour melted butter on top.
In a bowl large enough to hold and stir all the pecans, whisk together egg white, sugars, vanilla extract, and cinnamon until frothy. The frothier it is, the more textured and crispy your candied pecans will be! Stir in pecans until coated thoroughly.
Spread out pecans in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to ensure they don't burn and all the surfaces are evenly baked. Remove from oven and stir a couple more times as they cool so they don't stick together. Store in an airtight container.
For the mashed potatoes
Put sweet potato cubes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes pierce easily with a fork. Drain well.
While potatoes are cooking, melt butter in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. The butter will foam up, and then the foam will subside over a few minutes. When you see the butter turn a golden brown color and it starts to smell nutty, remove from heat. Be sure not to burn it!
Mash potatoes with browned butter and herbs. Then mix in 1/4 cup of milk and add more slowly until the potatoes reach your desired texture. Depending on how much water the potatoes hold and how thick you like them, it may be between 1/4 to about 3/4 cup of milk.
Spread potatoes evenly in a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish or 9x9 inch baking pan, and arrange candied pecans on top. Serve with remaining pecans on the side for people to add to their potatoes!
To make ahead
Make the pecans in advance and store at room temperature in an airtight container or ziplock bag. You can also make the sweet potato mixture in advance and refrigerate for a couple days. If making ahead, leave the pecans off until just before serving.
To reheat, preheat oven to 350 degrees, top casserole with pecans, and bake for 30 minutes. Be cautious of ceramic or glass casserole dishes, as they may not like going straight from the fridge to the oven and may crack. Bring these to room temperature first!