Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Ginger, Cardamom and Honey

If one were collecting cardinal rules of cooking, my suggestion would be that "cardamom makes just about everything better."  Not butter.  Not bacon.  But cardamom.  Any type of cardamom: black, green or Madagascar.  If anyone were to question this cardinal rule, then my response would be to direct him or her to this recipe: Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Ginger, Cardamom and Honey.

Before this recipe, I did not like sweet potatoes.  If given the option between regular fries and sweet potato fries, I would choose the former over the latter.  If my only option was sweet potato fries, I would grimace and look for the nearest bottle of hot sauce to mask the taste of the sweet potatoes.  If presented with the choice of mashed sweet potatoes, that would a choice I would avoid.  The bottom line: I would rather have an empty space on my plate.  

All of that changed with this one recipe.  We had a couple of large sweet potatoes, which were given to us as part of our CSA share.  The sweet potatoes sat on our counter, and in our refrigerator, for a while as I pondered what I would do with them.  Eventually, I had to confront them and prepare them in some manner.  I once again went to the Internet to find some recipe that would intrigue me.  It did not take long before a recipe caught my eye.  The eye-catching feature of this recipe was the word "cardamom."  

I am no stranger to cardamom.  There are over a dozen recipes on this blog that feature the spice, but I used the spice to cook dishes with ingredients that I loved to eat.  The problem with using cardamom is its price.  It is very expensive, second only to saffron.  The price is worth it, because the warm, pungent aromas of the cardamom pod and the unique flavors that it contributes to the dish are without measure.

This recipe marks the first time that I used cardamom to prepare a dish with an ingredient that, as I mentioned above, I did not like to eat.   Now, I love sweet potatoes ... at least with cardamom.

Recipe from Chowhound
Serves 4

2 pounds of sweet potatoes
8 ounces of russet potatoes
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1.  Prepare the steamer.  Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Set a steamer basket inside and set to low so the water is simmering.

2.  Prepare the potatoes.  Peel and cut the sweet potatoes and russet potatoes into large dice.  Place them into a steamer and cover with a tight lid.   Steam until fork tender, about 20 minutes.    Meanwhile, place the remaining measured ingredients into a small saucepan over low heat, season with pepper and stir until the butter and honey have melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

3.  Finish the dish.  When the potatoes are ready, transfer them to a large bowl and drizzle with the butter mixture.  Mash with a potato masher until you get the desired consistency.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  


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