I’ve been hearing a lot of hype lately about SUPER FOODS and have been trying to incorporate more of them into our diet here at home. Super foods are foods that have a much higher nutritional value than others, and sweet potatoes are on ALL the lists! The sweet potato also happens to be one of the oldest known cultivated foods in America, dating back some 9,000 years! It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, is high in antioxidants and has the added benefit of having anti-inflammatory properties. What’s not to love about that?
Besides being SO good for you, they’re actually quite delicious, because, once cooked, a wonderful sweetness develops. My favorite way to enjoy them has always been baked and loaded with butter and brown sugar. Can we say DESSERT? SO, in my ongoing mission to transform my old, unhealthy, fat-laden recipes to updated, heart-healthy dishes, I had to find a better way, and this recipe has made its way into my regular repertoire. First of all, the potato is steamed rather than boiled to help preserve all the goodness it has to offer. Remember, when a food is boiled, all its valuable properties leak out into the water…and then what happens to the water? Yep…right down your drain. So, given the choice, I choose to steam. The addition of some fresh orange juice, orange zest and a little nutmeg kicks this dish up to a flavor packed, beautifully colored side dish!
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Orange Essence
Slightly adapted from Ellie Krieger
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup buttermilk, warmed slightly
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
Bring water to boil in large covered pan fitted with steamer basket, and steam potatoes until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
In large bowl, mash potatoes with buttermilk and orange juice. Stir in zest, salt and nutmeg. Taste, and add honey if desired for added sweetness.
Because of its robust flavor, grinding fresh whole nutmeg is far superior to the pre ground stuff you buy in the grocery store. Like most spices, the flavor and aroma quickly diminish once ground. So buy it whole, and give it a quick grate on a microplane to add tons of flavor to your dishes!