Sweet Potato and Carrot Crisp

This recipe is a relic from my favourite Christmas cookbook of the 90’s (The Canadian Living Christmas Book, Copyright 1993, if you can get your hands on a copy). It’s an absolutely genius side dish that appears on my Christmas and Thanksgiving tables every year, without exception.

You might expect my loyalty to this rather retro-sounding recipe to be due to some misplaced childhood nostalgia, but rest assured, it deserves its place on my table. And yours, if you’ll let it.

It’s festive, mercifully healthy, make-ahead and – the best part – fabulous smeared into a leftover sandwich. A real holiday winner. If you’re asked to bring a vegetable side dish to any gathering this year you need look no further.

A word on quantities:

  • Halve this recipe for a small gathering of 6-8 people. You’ll have a bit leftover.
  • You could probably get away with halving the recipe for a gathering of up to 12, where there will be lots of side dishes and other things to eat, but you won’t have leftovers.
  • If you, like me, prefer not to cook too much in the days subsequent, know this side dish reheats beautifully and goes very well with a turkey pie. I make the full recipe for a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner for 8, with the intention of smearing it into turkey sandwiches and eating it alongside a pie or cold leftover meats for a couple days. If that’s too much sweet potato and carrot crisp for you to bear, halve the recipe and have faith no one is going to go hungry.

Feeds 12 with leftovers

Ingredients

5 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

12 carrots, peeled and sliced

¾ cup orange juice

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp butter

2 tsp cinnamon

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

For the topping:

1 ½ cups of fresh bread crumbs

½ cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup melted butter

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Method:

Bring the sweet potato and carrots to the boil in pots of salted water. (I do the sweet potatoes and carrots in separate pots as the carrots seem to take a lot longer to cook than the sweet potato.) When the vegetables are very soft, drain and let steam in the colander for a minute.

Meanwhile, mix together the orange juice, honey, butter, cinnamon, garlic and salt. Set aside.  

Puree the vegetables in a food processor (you will likely need to do this in batches), adding a little of the orange juice mixture as you go.

Butter a large baking dish and spoon in the sweet potato and carrot mixture. Use a spoon to smooth out the top, then leave to cool completely.

Make ahead: At this stage, the prepared vegetables can be covered with cling film and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead.

Prepare the topping by stirring the ingredients together, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.

Make ahead: Topping can be prepared up to 2 days in advance.

Tip: Breadcrumb topping must be stored separately, not sprinkled on top of the vegetables ahead of time, otherwise it just sinks in and goes a bit soggy.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F / 180C / 160C Fan.

Sprinkle the breadcrumb topping over the sweet potato and carrots, then cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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