Growing up, we had sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows more times than I can count. They were so decadent and over the top, and while I will never complain about having marshmallows for dinner (the goal was always to end up with as much of the topping and as few of the sweet potatoes on our plates as possible) the sweet potatoes got a little lost under all that sugar.
I wanted to come up with a recipe for sweet potatoes that were every bit as decadent as the ones my brothers and I loved as kids, but with a more interesting and savory flavor profile for Thanksgiving. This Savory Sweet Potato Crumble hits all those marks – and let’s just say, it goes a lot better with turkey and gravy than marshmallows do.
The crumble is made with walnuts, flour, fresh sage, brown sugar, Parmesan, a touch of heat from crushed pepper flakes, and of course, a generous amount of butter. It’s essentially a mash-up of Thanksgiving stuffing and a cheesy bread crumb topping. The potatoes underneath are creamy and studded with shallots caramelized in brown butter. Together, the crisp, savory crumble and slightly sweet, oniony potatoes are a winning pair, and you won’t believe how much the house smells like pure Thanksgiving when this dish is in the oven. It is the kind of smell Yankee Candles aspire to, and one that can only truly exist when a pan of something homemade and delicious is bubbling away in the oven.
Whether you’re cooking for the big night next week, or are in need of a great last minute recipe for your Friendsgiving this weekend, these sweet potatoes are a real showstopper and definitely not your average side dish. (And they don’t just have to be for Thanksgiving, either!)
Savory Sweet Potato Crumble
- 4 pounds sweet potatoes (6 medium potatoes)
- 2 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 6 large shallots)
- 9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
- 4 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
- 1½ cups finely chopped walnuts
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, divided
- ½ cup whole milk
- Kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place a large piece of aluminum foil on a sheet pan.
- Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and place them on the foil. Wrap the foil around the potatoes to form a packet and carefully pour in 1/3 cup water. Close the packet, using another piece of foil if necessary. Bake for 60 minutes, turning the potatoes and adding a few more tablespoons of water halfway through, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then scoop out the flesh and discard the skins.
- Meanwhile, make the brown butter shallots. Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium (10-inch) skillet. Cook the butter over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, watching carefully, until brown flecks begin to form. Immediately add the shallots and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the shallots are tender and lightly caramelized. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the walnuts, flour, Parmesan, sage, ¼ teaspoon of the red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, the remaining 5 tablespoons butter, and 1 teaspoon salt. Using your fingers, pinch the mixture together to form large crumbles. Set aside.
- With a hand mixer on low speed (or using a potato masher) beat the potato mixture until smooth. Fold in the shallot mixture, the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar, the milk, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 2 teaspoons salt, and mix well.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Transfer the potato mixture to a 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the potatoes and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the topping is browned and the potatoes are heated through. Serve hot.Note: The crumble can be assembled up to the point of baking and stored in the refrigerator, covered, overnight. It may take a few extra minutes in the oven.Copyright 2016, Lidey Heuck, All Rights Reserved. Updated 2023.