Cardamom-Kissed Sweet Potatoes

by Kelly on October 5, 2010

Now that the guests are gone, the kitchen cleaned, and the dishes done I want to share with you one of the recipes I featured at my dinner party thrown for the third round of the Project Food Blog contest.  As a friendly reminder, voting is open through Thursday so if you like my entry and have a moment, I’d appreciate your vote here.

sweet potatoes-1

The first dish I want to share with you is for Cardamom-Kissed Sweet Potatoes.  In thinking about this dish, I was actually inspired by a quote in the October issue of Food & Wine.  It’s the wine issue, so that’s what the quote is actually about, but if you bear with me I promise it relates back to these sweet potatoes.

Hugh Acheson, a chef and restauranteur said, “When I first got into wine, I really liked Shiraz from Australia.  I’m not saying that Shiraz isn’t great, but it’s a blanket over food, covering it all up.  Back then if I had tasted a Charmes Chambertin, the wine’s subtlety probably would have been lost on me.  But now, I get why people go crazy over wines like that.

This quote spoke to me because traditionally I’ve been a girl that loves big, larger than life flavors.  Ask me what kind of cheese I like and I’ll often say the riper and stinker the better.  Yet lately I find myself having a change of palate so to speak.  I find myself more and more smitten by nuance.  Maybe it was a particularly fantastic dinner I had at The Girl and the Goat, which featured a chilled yellow tomato-vanilla bean soup, the vanilla bean so soft it was practically a whisper (yet an incredibly well balanced whisper) against the acid of the tomatoes.  Or maybe it’s just a sign that I’m getting older and more mature.  Whatever it is, I’m realizing there is definitely a place for more delicate flavors at my table.

And that’s where these sweet potatoes come in.  At first bite they taste like your classic variety, buttery, creamy and sweet.  And then at the end you get just the subtlest hint of cardamom.  It sneaks up on you, providing that lingering end note.  It’s amazing to me that something so intensely aromatic does such a fabulous job singing backup.  It’s spiciness cuts through the richness of the potatoes and provides a nice balance.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner I think this would also be great as a turkey day side dish, providing a fun spin on more traditional sweet potato dishes.

Cardamom-Kissed Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Epicurious.com
Serves 6

Ingredients:

-2 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5)
-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
-1/2 cup whipping cream, warmed
-1/2 teaspoon cardamom
-1 pinch ground nutmeg
-Sea salt, to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place potatoes on baking sheets. Pierce potatoes with fork. Bake until very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Let cool slightly.
Increase temperature to 350 degrees F. Peel warm potatoes and place in bowl of heavy-duty electric mixer. Beat potatoes until mashed. Add butter, cream, cardamom and nutmeg. Whip until smooth and creamy. Season with salt. Transfer potatoes to 13 x 9-inch oval baking dish. (This also can be done one day ahead, which I did for my dinner party. In this case, cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.) Bake potatoes until heated through and beginning to brown on top, about 45 minutes.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet October 5, 2010 at 7:34 am

I love cardamom! This sounds delicious.

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Jen (Modern Beet) October 5, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Yum! I love cardamom — it adds a depth of flavor that is totally unique… It’s still pretty warm here (it was in the 90’s last week!) but once the weather cools down I’m sure this will make an appearance on my dinner table

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Carolyn Jung October 5, 2010 at 11:20 pm

OMG! I might have to make a huge bowl of this for Thanksgiving. I’m always looking for new, exciting side dishes. And this one fits the bill.

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CaSaundra October 6, 2010 at 8:53 am

Kelly–oh my gosh, I am SO so sorry I haven’t been commenting. I totally forgot to update my Google reader ever since you’ve made the switch. I thought I did, but apparently I was wrong. So now I am going back and catching up on all of your delicious recipes 🙂 Cardamom bread is my favorite, so I bet this dish would be right up my alley. Yes, I agree, I really hope it works out where we can meet up sometime. Maybe that’s an excuse for me to visit Chicago again? 🙂 Or let me know when you’re visiting Minneapolis!

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Ash October 6, 2010 at 9:03 am

I love cardamom, just bought a new jar. Definitely going to make these!

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Biz October 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm

It’s been years since I’ve tried sweet potatoes – I may have to give them another try, especially since I love cardamom!

I voted for you! 😀

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Shannon October 6, 2010 at 5:37 pm

love your description here, and cardamom is certainly one of my new favorites 🙂 must try it in sweet potatoes!!

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River (Wing-It Vegan) October 6, 2010 at 6:36 pm

This dish sounds lovely! I’m so glad Fall is here and it brought along all that awesome produce. 🙂

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Mo@MommyRD October 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm

I can almost smell the sweet potatoes by your description. I wish I could dig right into some right now! You get my vote based on those alone.

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Reeni October 7, 2010 at 7:17 pm

These would make a fantastic side dish for Thanksgiving – or Christmas! The cardamom just makes them extra special!

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Kerstin October 7, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Haha, Shiraz from Australia is my favorite and I would definitely consider myself a wine newbie. I love cardamom but have but mostly use it in sweets and curries – love this idea! Voted a few days ago too 🙂

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Erica October 8, 2010 at 11:20 am

Gorgeous. I bet they were just incredible. I already voted for you!!

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sophia October 10, 2010 at 1:31 am

Anything with sweet potatoes…but hey, this one is KISSEd with cardamom. Gosh, what a sweet, romantic graphic that brings!

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Mandee October 10, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Cardamom and sweet potato sound like a delicous combination! And congratulations on Project Food Blog!

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Hannah October 11, 2010 at 9:50 am

I’ve always toyed with the idea of sneaking a pinch of vanilla or cardamom into a savory dish as well, but never got the guts, for fear that my dining companions would reject them! I don’t have much to work with either… My sister won’t even eat standard vegetables, so this dish may never happen for a family diner. However, I love the idea, and might just have to make myself a giant serving of it soon. Happy to know it works deliciously, too, and isn’t just added for the novelty of it all! 🙂

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Camilla October 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm

OMG Kelly–two of my favorite things. Why have I never put cardamom and seet potatoes together? This is goign on the must-make list 🙂

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Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 11, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I have experienced the same shift in tastes. I normally like bold flavors, but generally enjoy making things with really simple flavors. Although the simplicity factory could just be easier cooking. I wish i could cook better.

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Susan October 26, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Yummy bundles. I’m thinking about serving them for T’sgiving. We’ll have some guests who don’t like the traditional marshmallow casserole. They are bookmarked for sure, regardless of when I serve them.

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