"Do whatever you like with it," chirped our hostess.
Instead of feeling comforted by her open-ended invitation to step into the kitchen and let loose with four pounds of sweet potatoes and a casserole, we were catatonic. As Northerners who thought baking was the beginning and end of things you could do with sweet potatoes, the idea of putting them in a casserole was more than we could manage.
If you go to Google and type in "sweet potato casseroles" you'll come face to face with thousands of recipes and lots of words such as "sticky-sweet" and "spirited."
Then, we remembered a mashed sweet potato concoction with crushed pineapple and marshmallows that we had once eaten, and our Thanksgiving recipe started to take shape.
In addition to the sweet potatoes, which were mixed with brown sugar and butter, we added Southern pecans, a little vanilla and a slug of bourbon. The details are fuzzy but we do remember that in the end, it resembled Kentucky Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole.
Kentucky Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole
2 (29-ounce) cans sweet potatoes, drained
q cup good-quality bourbon
1 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves
1½ tablespoons melted butter
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix potatoes, bourbon, ½ cup brown sugar, vanilla and salt.
Spoon into a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Combine remaining brown sugar, pecans and butter; mix well.
Sprinkle evenly over potatoes. Bake 25 minutes or until top is browned.
Recipe provided by Doug Hosford.
Nutrition Per serving: 410 calories, 12 grams fat, 5 grams protein, 67 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber and 290 milligrams sodium.
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