Mashed sweet potatoes with the perfect balance of savory flavors make an elegant and easy side dish.
It’s dangerous for me to write a post that involves thyme. It just lends itself to terrible puns, and well, terrible puns are a key part of my DNA. But you know what? It’s thyme to grow up.
OK, OK, that’s out of my system. Let’s move on. Because we’re too herbane for that nonsense.
Snicker, snicker. OK for real now. I have to focus because this is an incredibly important recipe to have in your cooking repertoire. Since the first time I made it, it’s shown up on multiple dinner party menus, casual weekday plans, AND…Thanksgiving, which we hosted last year for the very first…thyme.
Don’t worry, I’m actually punching myself in the face now so you don’t have to.
BUT SERIOUSLY, this recipe for mashed sweet potatoes with garlic, thyme, and balsamic is a secret weapon, even more powerful than my sense of humor. Damning with faint praise, you say? Well, you may have a point. Because this dish:
- …is easy easy easy. Boil a few things, mash ’em up, and…that’s it.
- …tastes and appears super fancy.
- …reheats like a dream, perfect for make-ahead meals.
Let’s go through the very short list of steps to make this dish. First, you cut up some sweet potatoes and boil them in chicken stock with some garlic. To make this recipe vegetarian-friendly, vegetable stock would also be fine. In a pinch, you could even get away with water. But I highly recommend sticking with the stock, because it infuses the potato with a lovely savoriness.
When your potatoes are cooked and soft, drain some of the liquid, setting it aside for later, and mash the potatoes and garlic. Nothing fancy here – no immersion blenders or food processors needed – just smash ’em up until you’re happy with the consistency. Add some of your reserved liquid if you want them a little thinner. Personally, I prefer this dish a little thinner than mashed potatoes, but not soupy.
Then you just throw in some thyme (fresh or dried), salt, pepper, and, of course, butter. Adjust those items to taste, and, I implore you, don’t skimp on the butter.
And that’s literally it. Easy or what? Even better, you can make this dish well in advance. If you’ll be serving within an hour or so, just keep it covered on the stove and reheat before serving. More than an hour, store it in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave when you’re ready for dinner. It’ll keep just fine in the fridge for a couple days.
As the crowning moment, when you’re ready to serve, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on top. (You could add an extra step and make a balsamic reduction, but it’s really not necessary.) Don’t skip this final step! You need that little splash of sweetness and acid to mix with the savory, buttery potatoes. The combination just blows it all away.
(Obviously I totally forgot to add the balsamic when taking these photos. Don’t be like me.)
Oh, and remember that other benefit I mentioned about this dish? About how it comes across all fancy-pants? It’s true. First, you can add some pretty garnish with thyme leaves, and of course the balsamic makes a beautiful contrast. But also, I’ve noticed thyme isn’t used as an everyday seasoning, and most people will find the dish delightful, yet be unable to put their finger on the flavor. As a result, you’ll also have plenty of moments of: “Oh these sweet potatoes are SO GOOD, what on earth goes into them?” Then you’ll have the perfect opportunity to make your own herb puns/look super cool. (Pretty much the same thing, really.)
So there you have it. Easy and utterly delicious. Win win every thyme.
I’M SORRY, ALL RIGHT? (Just kidding, I’m totally not.)
Recipe adapted from Food Network.
- 1 -1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt to taste
- Fresh black pepper to taste
- A couple drizzles of balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction
- Bring the broth to a boil with the potatoes and garlic. Make sure the broth covers the potatoes. Boil until soft and easily pierced with a fork.
- Drain off some of the broth from the pot and reserve it. Mash the potatoes thoroughly, adding back some of the reserved broth to get your preferred consistency. I like these slightly thinner than regular mashed potatoes.
- Add thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir and adjust seasonings, adding additional broth if necessary.
- Right before serving, drizzle with a little balsamic.
Recipe adapted from Food Network.