Growing up, my absolute favorite Thanksgiving dish was sweet potato casserole. I loved the cut sweet potatoes from a Princella can mixed with brown sugar and crushed pineapple and topped with a golden brown and gooey blanket of melted marshmallows. It was a sugar bomb and I couldn’t get enough.
These days, sweet potato casserole is still my favorite. Thanksgiving isn’t the same without it. But the canned goods stay on the shelf and bourbon is often added with a heavy hand. My recipe changes a bit each year and, after a test run this past weekend, I think this year’s version is the best yet. The casserole is still a bit sweet, as any sweet potato dish should be, but is balanced by the smokiness of bourbon and bacon. The potatoes are silky and rich from butter and cream while roasted pecans and crispy bacon provide texture. Then there are the marshmallows and this year, they steal the show. They’re made with smoked porter, freshly ground black pepper, and flaky sea salt; the flavor combination is unexpected, but not overwhelming, and perfectly complements the sweet and savory casserole like no commercial marshmallow can.
The best part? Everything can be made in advance leading to a less stressful Thanksgiving. Just don’t expect leftovers from this recipe.
*Up to half (4 tablespoons) of the melted butter can be substituted 1-to-1 with rendered bacon fat for a smokier sweet potato mash.
Tags: black pepper • bourbon • cooking with beer • craft beer • marshmallows • mashed sweet potatoes • pecans • recipe • side dish • smoked porter • sweet potato casserole • sweet potato mash • sweet potatoes • thanksgiving