The Best-Ever Sweet Potato Recipe: Liza Tanner Boyd’s Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving is upon us, and, as required by federal law, that means it’s time to make sweet potatoes.  Very sweet potatoes.  For most people, that means either sliced sweet potatoes covered with an incredible amount of sugar, or else a sweet potato casserole, where the incredible amount of sugar is blended in and the actual amount is known only to the cook.

As you know, sugar is very bad for you and it is to be avoided, unless it is in banana pudding, any pie, or, during the week after Halloween, in those small Snickers bars and Reese’s Cups that magically appear in your freezer.  But let’s be frank.  There is no way for a normal, healthy human being to avoid grossly excessive sugar on Thanksgiving or, for that matter, Christmas.  The only realistic strategy is to minimize your sugar intake right up to the point where you have to try each of at least three different pies.

But how can you minimize you sugar intake while still complying with the federal mandate for sweet potatoes?  As with many of life’s questions, the answer is bourbon.  And Liza Tanner Boyd has a recipe that replaces half or more of the sugar with a modest amount of bourbon.  The recipe is simple and the result is absolutely delicious.

You will need:

4 lbs sweet potatoes

½ cup melted butter

a mere ½ cup brown sugar

1/3 cup orange juice

¼ cup bourbon

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

½ cup pecans

You simply peel, cube, cook, drain, and mash the sweet potatoes. Combine the potatoes  with all of the other ingredients except the pecans, and mix thoroughly. Put it all into a buttered rectangular pyrex dish, and sprinkle the pecans over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, and voila!  You have created a masterpiece.

The alcohol in the bourbon cooks off, of course, but leaves a wonderful flavor that perfectly complements the sweet potatoes.  You want, of course, to use a good bourbon, perhaps one with a long neck covered with red wax.  First, you want  a good flavor.  Second, if you buy a bottle of, say, Kentucky Dale, your casserole will have an off taste — tar with notes of hydrogen peroxide — and you’ll be stuck with the rest of a fifth of Kentucky Dale that you’ll never drink — a waste of $6.   (You could buy a pint or, God help you, a half pint, but word would get out and people will whisper to each other as you walk by.)

You really should try this recipe for Thanksgiving.  Your extended family will love you.


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