Nutrition-packed and inexpensive sweet potatoes cook easily in a pot of boiling water. Once cooked, the possibilities for using them are limitless. Start by substituting sweet potatoes for cooked white potatoes.
In the United States grocery stores, orange-flesh sweet potatoes are usually called yams to differentiate them from the pale variety that has a light yellow skin and flesh. The orange-flesh sweet potato (yam) is available year round but peaks in winter. When purchasing, look for small to medium sweet potatoes that have smooth skin and are firm and free of soft spots. Store whole unpeeled sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week (do not refrigerate or they will dry out).
Tip: One pound of sweet potatoes equals about 2 medium sweet potatoes or 2 3/4 cups cubed.
Before using, scrub the sweet potatoes with a clean produce brush and rinse with cool water. Use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to peel sweet potatoes. Using a knife, cut off any woody portions and ends. Cut into bite-size cubes.
Select a saucepan or Dutch oven that will be large enough to hold the sweet potatoes without crowding them. Fill the pot about half full (you will need just enough water to cover the sweet potatoes) and add a dash of salt. Bring to boiling. Add sweet potatoes. Cover the pan and cook sweet potatoes for 10 to 12 minutes or until just tender on the outside but resistant in the center when pierced with a knife. For soft, tender sweet potatoes, cook for 25 to 30 minutes.
Place a colander in the sink. Remove the lid from the pan and carefully pour the sweet potatoes into the colander. Drain off the water. Set sweet potatoes aside until cool enough to handle or run cold water over them to quick-cool. For an easy side dish, toss cooked sweet potato cubes with butter, salt, and pepper, and serve. Or use the cooked cubes in salads, tacos, soups and stews, and casseroles. You can also mash the cubes to make mashed sweet potatoes or to use as an ingredient in cakes, breads, pies, and savory dishes.
-Today we??re cooking up a quick and delicious Thanksgiving side, Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Pistachios. I have about 3 lbs. of sweet potatoes that have been peeled and cubed. I??ll start by placing them in a 3 quart sauce pan then pour over enough water to cover. I like to season them with a little salt at this point. Bring the potatoes to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, I??ll toast up some pistachios for a hit of delicious nutty flavor and a little extra crunch. Melt a little butter in a skillet and add about a half cup of the chopped pistachios. Toss a bit to get them nice and coated and cook them for 1 to 2 minutes over a medium heat until the pistachios are lightly toasted. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and set aside. Let??s check on those potatoes. They??re ready when I can easily pierce them with a knife. The potatoes are ready so I??ll drain and return them to the sauce pan. Now it??s time to add some half and half and butter. I like to melt butter in a glass measure in the microwave for ease. Heat about 1 minute or until the butter has just melted into the half and half. Pour this over the potatoes. Now, this is where [unk] it??s really delicious. Then use a potato masher to mash until fluffy. I like to use a potato masher but you can also use an electric mixer or food processor if you want an even smoother texture. I like my potatoes to have a little chunkier texture so I prefer to mash by hand. I??ll finish the potatoes by stirring in a couple of ounces of creamy goat cheese and fragrant thyme. That goat cheese just melts into the warm potatoes. When it comes thyme to serve, I??ll sprinkle with a little extra goat cheese and those toasted buttery pistachios. Simple and delicious. This is a side your Thanksgiving guests will be fighting over for the last bite.