Just say no to marshmallow covered sweet potatoes, and enjoy the savory goodness that happens when you mix sweet potatoes with herbed brown butter, aged cheese and crispy breadcrumbs. This Savory Sweet Potato Casserole is so scrumptious, it will be the first side dish demolished at your table.
Savory sweet potato fans, come sit next to me! Judging by the sheer number of marshmallow-goopy sweet potato recipes on the interwebs, we must be fairly rare.
So, it’s up to us to spread the tasty news that sweet potatoes are amazing when paired with ingredients normally reserved for their spud cousins, such as brown butter and rosemary and Gruyere.
I’m such a fan of savory-seasoned and topped sweet potatoes that it’s the only way I eat them. One of my favorite lunches in the world is a whole sweet potato cooked in the Instant Pot (fast!), then topped with salsa and guacamole.
But, some peeps need convincing that sweet potatoes aren’t just for dessert. And I think this Savory Sweet Potato Casserole will play a role in that.
This recipe is absolutely rave-worthy! Inspired by a casserole on Bon Appetit, roasted sweet potatoes are blended with a dreamy creamy mixture of eggs, aged cheese, brown butter, and then well-seasoned with salt, sage, rosemary, and lemon zest.
Finally, it’s topped with layer of crispy, butter kissed herb bread crumbs, which adds a completely delightful texture to the works. The bread crumbs are loaded with strips of fried sage, which, if you’ve ever fried sage, you know tasty is built right in.
Heads-up: this is not a weeknight side dish. There’s work to be done, and you’re going to dirty up a few bowls and pans. But Savory Sweet Potato Casserole is a make-ahead dish, and perfect for a celebration dinner or holiday gathering: assemble the day before, refrigerate and bake it up fresh for dinner.
If you have an Instant Pot, you can shave considerable time off of the sweet potato prep, as it brings the roasting time down to just over a half hour (compared to an hour and 15 minutes!).
Prove those sweet potato detractors wrong with this decadent savory side dish!
Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
- 4 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 ounce sage leaves or 20 leaves*, sliced chiffonade
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 1/4 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup grated Parm or other flavorful aged cheese
- kosher salt and pepper
- finely grated zest from one lemon
Prepare the sweet potatoes (2 options)
- Instant Pot: add 1 cup of water to a 6 or 8 quart unit (3 quart is too small). Stack the sweet potatoes in the unit. Secure the lid, and set the valve to Seal. Set manual pressure to high, at 14 minutes. After the unit finishes cooking, allow to natural release for 10 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure. Open the lid carefully, taking care to mind drips from the lid. The potatoes should be soft, and probably are possibly split open.
- Oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and arrange them cut side down on on the sheets. Roast them for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and squeezable. Let cool on baking sheets until handleable.
Continue with the other components
- While the potatoes are cooking (either method), heat 6 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over medium. Add the herbs and stir well. Cook until the butter foams and then browns. The sage should be a little crispy. Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven (or raise existing heat) to 400 degrees F.
- Scoop out the flesh from the skins (discard the skins) and add to a large mixing bowl. Mash with a potato masher (doesn't need to be smooth at this point, just begin to come together). Stir about half of herbed brown butter into the potatoes.
- Add the breadcrumbs to the remaining butter in the saucepan and stir to coat. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the same saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir in the shallots and cook until golden. Pour in the heavy cream, increase heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, and use an immersion blender to smooth out the cream.
- Add the eggs, cheese, and cream to the potatoes, and use the immersion blender to blend the potatoes until smooth.
- Spoon the potato mixture into a 2 quart baking dish (shallow and long is preferred over tall and square). If you want to get fancy, create swirls in the mixture with a spatula. Top with the herbed breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the top, and serve.
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