Thanksgiving Recap: Sweet Potato Casserole with Coconut

I’m pretty sure I’m going to get arrested for breaking some sort of Thanksgiving law here, but I don’t love sweet potato casserole.

Don’t get me wrong. The recipe that I made this year was both real and simple, living up to the name of magazine from whence it came. It tasted good. But I’m never going to want more than one spoonful of the stuff. One spoonful of sweet potato casserole is enough to get me to next Thanksgiving.

If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have made the sweet potato casserole.

Funny thing was… it WAS up to me. But my mom wanted sweet potato casserole. And you’ve gotta dance with the mother that brought ya into this world.

Like I said, the casserole is good. The author of the recipe noted her family’s tradition of arguing over whether or not this is dessert or a side. So, beware, Wilfred Brimley: this thing is sweet.

But, it’s also convenient. It can be made a day ahead. So that’s exactly what I did. And I used my Gramma/sous chef to cut all the potatoes and wash all the dishes. Y’all, I’m pretty sure we should ALL be cooking with old people as our assistants. They might have to stop to take a pill every hour, but they’re VERY helpful in the kitchen. And they love you.

Lens Flare.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Coconut, from Real Simple

  • 3  pounds  sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces | It does not need to be exact, as my Gramma (jokingly) asked me. Just similar in size and shape so the potatoes cook evenly at the same time.
  • kosher salt
  • 1  cup  sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2  cup  packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup  chopped pecans | I’m a southern girl, so I say pe-CANS. My Gramma from Northwestern Indiana says pe-CONS. Let’s call the whole thing off.
  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/3  cup  whole milk
  • 1/2  cup  (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3  large eggs
  • 1  teaspoon  pure vanilla extract

Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and add 2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat and simmer until very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 325° F. In a small bowl, combine the coconut, brown sugar, pecans, and ½ teaspoon salt.

Add the granulated sugar, milk, butter, eggs, vanilla, and ½ teaspoon salt to the potatoes and mash until smooth.

Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch square or another shallow 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the coconut mixture. Bake until heated through (tent loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly), 30 to 35 minutes.

The casserole can be made up to 1 day in advance; refrigerate, covered. On Reheating Day, bring to room temperature, then reheat, covered, at 350° F until warmed through, 15 to 20 minutes. If you pull it from the fridge and stick it in the oven immediately, it will be cold in the middle. Oh yes. It will be.

It’s quick. It’s easy. And while delicious, I want nothing to do with it until next Thanksgiving. That’s the NEW Thanksgiving law.

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