For the last few years, some dear friends of ours invited us over for “Friendsgiving” at their home around Thanksgiving time.
It’s always been a great time to get to know new folks and share in a huge potluck meal.
Of course, this year, that meal couldn’t happen, but instead, Joey and I might have begun a new Thanksgiving weekend tradition. I call it “Strunksgiving.”
Adam Strunk and his fiancee, Sam, have been a part of our “COVID bubble” over the past few months, as we’ve been careful to maintain very little contact with folks. During the summer, Adam and Joey spent several weekends hanging outside, smoking a variety of meats, and when Thanksgiving rolled around, they decided to try a turkey.
That idea ballooned into all of us adding side dish after side dish to the menu, ending up with enough food to feed an army. As I often do to my friends, I made Adam and Sam into my guinea pigs and decided to try some new recipes, one of which was a sweet potato casserole that may as well have been on the dessert table.
The recipe I tried comes from the blog “Creme de la Crumb.” You can find the original at https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/candied-pecan-sweet-potato-casserole. (I doubled the vanilla in my version below.)
Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole
- 5 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/3 cup butter melted
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- 3 cups mini marshmallows
- Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, and set it aside.
- Place the cubed sweet potatoes into a stock pot and just cover them with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
- Drain the potatoes and dump them back into your stock pot.
- Mash them, and then stir in the eggs, vanilla, melted butter, brown sugar, salt and milk until everything is well combined.
- Spread the potato mixture evenly into your prepared dish.
- In a small bowl, create the topping by combining the brown sugar, flour, melted butter and pecans. Stir until they’re well combined and sprinkle the mixture over top of the potatoes.
- Bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until the topping is caramelized a bit.
- Remove from the oven and spread the marshmallows over the top. Bake for another five minutes. (If your marshmallows aren’t as browned as you like after five minutes, flip your oven over to the low broil setting and let the casserole cook under the broiler for a couple more minutes.)
- Serve hot.
If you enjoy sugary sweet potatoes, this is the dish for you. The brown sugar and marshmallows contribute their traditional sweetness, while the pecans offer up a nice, extra crunch to take it all over the top. I actually halved this recipe and made it in an 8-inch dish, and it was a great amount for us.
It got two thumbs up from the tiny assembly.
We had a wonderful time with just the four of us, with great conversation and way too much overeating, but we decided before the pie was served that we were definitely making a regular tradition of sharing a meal together. It looks like “Strunksgiving” is here to stay.
This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 3, 2020.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.