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Sides, Vegetarian

Spiced sweet potato puree

Spiced sweet potato puree
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

It's the old parlor game: "If you could eat dinner with anyone you wanted, whom would it be?" That may be fun for some, but for those who love to cook, wouldn't a more kitchen-centric twist be even better? Wouldn't ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes | Serves 10 to 12
  • 1 (1 1/2 -inch) cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole allspice
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 (1- by 2-inch) piece of orange peel
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out
  • 1/2 large acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 -inch cubes
  • 1/2 medium banana, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 potatoes) peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Step 1Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the cinnamon stick, the allspice, cloves, star anise, fennel seeds, thyme, bay leaf and orange peel on a length of cheesecloth, and tie it up into a sachet. Set aside.

Step 2Place the butternut and acorn squashes cut side up on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast until tender, about 1 hour. Set aside.

Step 3While they're roasting, heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the onion, apple and banana, sprinkle with the sugar, and sweat them until caramelized, about 10 minutes.

Step 4Deglaze the pan by pouring in the orange juice, stirring and scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any bits. Add the sweet potato, and stir to coat.

Step 5Pour in the milk and cream, add 4 tablespoons of the butter and the sachet. Bring to a gentle simmer, and poach the sweet potatoes over medium heat until they're very tender, about 45 minutes. Strain the sweet potatoes, reserving the poaching liquid. Discard the sachet.

Step 6Scoop the roasted squash out of its shells, and place the flesh in a potato ricer. Add the sweet potatoes and press through. You may need to do this in batches. Then pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a large saucepan.

Step 7Add enough poaching liquid to yield a silky puree, along with the remaining butter. Season with the sea salt and white pepper. May be prepared ahead up to this point, and reheated on low heat.

Note: From Daniel Boulud.


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