Spicy Sweet Potato Casserole with Bacon Crumble

Thanksgiving is here! Well, almost. I’ve gotten ahead of myself (again!) and prepared a (semi) Thanksgiving-ish dinner. Hey, at least I’m not pulling the Christmas decorations down from the attic. Yet. I did, however, rock some Trans-Siberian Orchestra, while in the kitchen. Shhh don’t tell anybody.

I’ve had a few sweet potatoes left, from my summer garden, lying around being all lonely. And since they are a Thanksgiving meal staple, and I haven’t done a blog post since my mid-summer tomato hysteria, I’ve decided to try something different (of course) and put a spin on your regular ol’ sweet potatoes covered in boring marsh mellow. Not that I don’t looove marsh mellow… But… You know….

This Spicy Sweet Potato Casserole with Bacon Crumble has the perfect balance of sweet and salty. It will satisfy your sweet tooth and bacon tooth at the same time. Ha! Bacon tooth. It has only a dash of cayenne pepper and a smidgen of red pepper flake. Just a little spice to waken your taste buds. I promise you this dish does not have a 5 alarm heat that will require a side of celery sticks and a glass of milk. Come on, don’t be silly. But if just the sound of spicy makes you want to head for the hills, just omit the pepper. I won’t hold it against you or take offense. But I will silently judge you.

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What you will need:

– 3 lbs (more or less) sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled until fork tender
– 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tsp orange zest
– 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1/4 tsp ground clove

For the bacon crumble topping:

– 1 lb of bacon, fried crispy and crumbled
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1/2 cup butter, melted
– 1/2 cup flour
– 1/2 tsp red pepper flake

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

This recipe is super easy to make. Begin with your mise en place. This is just a fancy French phrase for “putting in place”. For example, boil your sweet potatoes and fry the bacon ahead of time so they will be ready when it’s time to start cooking. Remember, Thanksgiving day can get pretty hectic in the kitchen.

In a large bowl, blend the first set of ingredients using a hand mixer or masher. It’s okay to leave it a little chunky but make just it’s well incorporated.

Pour sweet potato mixture in a buttered casserole dish. A 13×9 will work fine.

Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

While that’s baking, use a fork to lightly combine the bacon crumble ingredients in a large bowl. The mixture should look like… crumble. Duh.

After 30 minutes, CAREFULLY, use your fingers to crumble the topping over the HOT sweet potatoes.

Pop back in the oven for about 15 more minutes or until the bacon crumble is crispy and bubbly.

**healthy alternative**

-use coconut oil instead of butter
-use honey instead of sugar
-use orange juice instead of heavy cream

Serve warm. Enjoy!

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