The first time I ever had a sweet potato casserole, was a little over ten years ago. It was the first Thanksgiving I was spending with my boyfriend, now husband, and his family. The sweet potatoes covered with melted marshmallows sat next to the green beans and broccoli salad that were part of the many all American dishes, part of a traditional spread at his parent’s house that happened to be very foreign to me. That’s because I grew up experiencing a Thanksgiving dinner made of foods that were more of their Mexican interpretations (maybe even inventions) of traditional American holiday dishes.
For my parents, Thanksgiving is the perfect embodiment of their assimilation to this country. Over the years, they had their share of trials preparing traditional Thanksgiving dishes like roasted turkey, sliced ham and all the accoutrements that are part of a historical holiday and foods they knew nothing of back then. Yet, they managed to prepare dishes that were without question delicious and copacetic to their palates, even though the tamales and salsa shared room at the table as well. Sweet potatoes however, never made it to their Thanksgiving mornings of kitchen tribulations. If they had though, I imagine my parents would have thought the marshmallow studded casserole was a dessert course.
I can see it now; Marshmallows for dinner? Mami’s eyebrows would have shrugged, Papi’s would have raised. What’s more is that I’m not even crazy about marshmallows, but I was charmed by this sweet and savory dish topped with even more sticky sweetness. Unfortunately, I can’t say my family was as thrilled with my sweet potato rendition when I tried to make it for them the following year. I followed the in-laws recipe which basically calls for canned sliced yams layered with marshmallows. I knew that if I ever wanted to see this dish at the Sandoval Thanksgiving dinners, I had to make some modification to make it palatable to their tastes.
I started working on this recipe by first opting to roast fresh sweet potatoes instead of using their precooked canned counterparts. Then to make it much lighter yet creamy, I decided to make it a soufflé, a word that usually scares many cooks, but it in this case I am just whipping some eggs into the roasted sweet potato mixture. While it will be more airy, it will also have creamy bites thanks to the inclusion of baking this dish with Cacique’s Queso Cotija Grated Cheese. The robust, salty and buttery flavor of Cotija cheese helps make the sweet potato soufflé more savory than sweet. And finally, I added a spiced nut crumble topping to add texture and also break up the intense sweetness of the marshmallows. My parents love anything with nuts, so I knew that would help to sell my new and improved Sweet Potato Soufflé casserole- and it did!
This Thanksgiving, wow your guests with a twist on the classic Sweet Potato dish. Using Cacique’s new line of Shredded Cheeses makes your chaotic preparations on Thanksgiving morning a little easier. In one easy step you can add the authentic Mexican and all natural flavors Cacique® is well known for. Cacique’s perfectly blended shredded cheeses enhance this and any other Thanksgiving favorites that make those memories we cherish and are grateful for around the dinner table with our loved ones.
Note: Click the ‘Products‘ tab above to learn more about the Cacique® ingredients used in this recipe. You can find these ingredients near you by clicking the ‘Find Stores‘ tab, selecting the products you are looking for, and entering your zip code.
WHAT YOU NEED
- 4 lbs. Sweet Potatoes
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 cup Cacique® Queso Cotija Grated Cheese
- Nut Crumble Topping
- 1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 teaspoon Ancho or Chipotle Chile Powder
- 1/4 cup Finely Chopped Nuts (choose from pecans, walnuts, almonds)
- 6 tablespoons Butter, cubed and chilled
- Marshmallows to taste, halved crosswise
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Preheat oven to 425°. Place sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake until soft, approximately 60-90 minutes. Allow potatoes to cool to the touch and peel skins off.
- Combine sweet potatoes, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a standing mixer on the low setting. Add eggs and heavy cream, and then raise mixer speed to medium high and whip for two minutes to incorporate air into mixture. Lower mixer speed and add in Cacique® Cotija Grated Cheese. Transfer prepared sweet potato mixture to a buttered baking dish and set aside.
- To prepare crumble topping: in a bowl mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, chile powder and chopped nuts. Add butter and with your fingers, begin to rub butter into flour mix to make crumbles. Place crumbles over the top of the sweet potato soufflé and then dot over the crumble top with marshmallows. Bake in oven until filling is hot, crumble is browned, and marshmallow tops have turned a golden color, about 20-30 minutes. Let soufflé cool before serving.