Orange is a cheery color. The whole spectrum from palest to brightest has a certain happy glow. It also has a feeling of warmth. Think about those gorgeous summer sunsets with a big orange sun slowly sinking into the horizon. It is even more magnificent when wispy clouds in the sky take on the color. All that cheerfulness and warmth is what I was thinking about when making ginger orange sweet potatoes.
Winter makes me yearn for comfort food. Rainy winter days make me want to curl up under a warm blanket and dream about, well, anything better than dreary weather. So to resist the urge to splurge or nap the day away, I’ll focus on something else. That something might as well be combining seasons and seasonal flavors in a new way. Root vegetables start in the fall and citrus is a highlight in winter.
Sweet potatoes and cinnamon have been my usual combo. So much so that I got myself into a rut. I couldn’t cook a sweet potato without pulling out the cinnamon. Either it is mixed in like with my family’s favorite casserole or simply sprinkled on top. That has changed after making ginger orange sweet potatoes. Look out cinnamon because ginger is sneaking in on your territory.
Orange zest and juice really brighten up sweet potatoes. The brightness I’m referring to is flavor. Color is definitely already there. Ginger adds a secondary earthiness and a little butter ties it all together. The texture can vary depending on if you mash or beat it with a mixer. I prefer a smoother and fluffier so I used a hand mixer. Use a masher if you want it lumpier.
Do you like the color orange? How about orange colored food? I certainly do. I think it adds a nice visual aspect to a meal. I also think these potatoes would go quite nicely with ham or roasted pork. Oh, and use leftovers for muffins or quick bread. Or let me know your suggestions on how you would use the leftovers. I do enjoy getting ideas for new things to try.
Ginger Orange Sweet Potatoes
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes about 4 medium-sized
- 1 naval orange
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 heaping tablespoon fresh grated ginger or ginger paste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Pierce sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Place sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour.
While the potatoes are baking, grate the zest and squeeze the juice from the orange. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of the grated zest and 1/3 cup strained juice in a large bowl. Save any remaining zest and juice for a separate use or discard.
Carefully remove and discard the skins from the baked sweet potatoes (don't burn yourself with the hot potatoes!).
Place sweet potato flesh in the bowl with the orange zest and juice. Add butter, ginger, salt and pepper.
Mash or beat to combine.
Ginger Orange Sweet Potatoes are a wonderful and colorful side dish. Sweet potatoes are baked and mashed with fresh ginger, orange juice, and butter.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light magazine May 2014 edition.