Sweet potato purée is easy to prepare and use in a variety of ways. Of course, the purée itself can be seasoned and served as a side dish next to poultry, pork, or ham. But the basic, unseasoned version can also be used to make sweet potato pie, soufflé, ice cream—or even fudge!
Sweet potatoes are available year-round, but their flavor peaks in the fall and winter. When buying, choose ones that feel heavy for their size and are free of any sprouts or soft spots. Sweet potatoes are harvested when they are moist, but are then partially dried to toughen the skin and increase the storage potential. They should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within a couple of weeks. Be careful when handling sweet potatoes as they can bruise easily.
Nutritionally, sweet potatoes are rich in the antioxidant beta carotene, which is effective in raising blood levels of vitamin A, especially in children. They are also high in fiber, are very filling, and can be prepared many ways including baked, steamed, boiled, or fried.
- 3 large sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
Gather the ingredients.
Peel the potatoes and cut into 2-inch chunks.
In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes.
Drain the sweet potatoes, reserving some cooking water. It might be necessary to add some of the reserved water to achieve a smooth purée consistency.
Place the cooked sweet potato chunks in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth. Add reserved water if necessary to achieve desired consistency. 3 pounds of potatoes will yield about 4 cups of sweet potato purée.
Unseasoned sweet potato purée can be used in a variety of recipes. Cooled sweet potato purée can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. To use frozen sweet potato purée, thaw overnight in your refrigerator.
- Smoked Paprika Sweet Potato Purée: After puréeing the sweet potatoes, add 4 tablespoons softened butter, 1/3 cup heavy cream, 1/4 teaspoon sweet or hot smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the bowl. Pulse until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Maple Chipotle Sweet Potato Purée: After puréeing the sweet potatoes, add 1 chipotle pepper in adobo (finely chopped), 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup sour cream, 4 tablespoons softened butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the bowl. Pulse to combine until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Vanilla Sweet Potato Purée: After puréeing the sweet potatoes, add 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter and 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped, to the bowl. Pulse to combine until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth.
- Orange Ginger Sweet Potato Purée: After puréeing the sweet potatoes, add 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger to the bowl. Pulse to combine until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.