Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter, Garlic and Sage

I’ve already discussed how much I love Thanksgiving, but what I failed to mention so far is that what I really love are the side dishes.  Not to toot my own horn (toot toot!) but I like to think I make a pretty decent bird, but if I’m being honest it’s just not my favorite.  I am far from a vegan, but I’m not the biggest meat eater either.  I love a good burger, a low and slow luscious braise or a well-marbled steak, but a lean heritage turkey just doesn’t really do it for me. But the sides. The sides I am here for. 


looked back to my last ‘normal’ thanksgiving menu and counted 11 (!!) sides.  Excessive? Maybe.  But so worth it.  Of that list of 11, these sweet and spicy sweet potatoes are a fairly new addition, which is very significant. It’s both a privilege and an honor for a recipe to make its way onto The Adams Family menu.  As one of four girls in a very large family, there are quite literally way too many cooks in the kitchen on family holidays so if someone is choosing to veer from tradition or get something new onto the official menu, it’s gotta be good. These sweet potatoes are good, but more importantly, they are stupid easy (is that what the kids say these days?!). 

With just a handful of ingredients you can add a delicious side dish to the menu that is perfectly balanced; sweet, spicy, nutty and herbaceous. If you have a ricer (which come on people, you should!!) you don’t even need to peel the sweet potatoes before cooking them.  If you don’t, now is your chance to buy one before Thanksgiving. Just kidding, if you don’t have a ricer, you can totally peel these ahead of cooking and then mash them by hand with a potato masher.  If you have littles at your table like we do (12 to be exact!), you can keep the Calabrian chili paste separate and just stir that into the adult table portion if you so choose. 

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • handful fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Calabrian Chili Paste or chopped Calabrian Chilis
  • Flaky salt, to taste


Add sweet potatoes to a large pot and cover by 1-inch with cold water. Generously season the water with kosher salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 16-18 minutes.

While the potatoes cook, brown the butter. Add butter to a heavy-bottomed light-colored pan and set over medium heat. Cook until the butter is completely melted and starts to foam. Continue to cook until the milk solids begin to brown, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook for 1 minute, or until the sage is crisp and the garlic is golden brown. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to a heat safe bowl. Let cool slightly, then whisk in honey and Calabrian chili paste.

Once potatoes are tender, drain and let cool slightly. Pass through a ricer into a large bowl. Add brown butter mixture, folding until well combined. Season to taste with flaky salt and serve.

Potatoes can be made ahead and gently rewarmed right before serving on the stove top or low and slow in a slow cooker.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

  1. I’ve had the bourbon shortbread cookies and they taste like a true “Old Fashion”.

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