These are hands down my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. I came up with this recipe last Thanksgiving. I was tired of overly sweet sweet potatoes covered in marshmallow and nuts and brown sugar. Once again this comes back to the idea of not covering up the flavor of your vegetables. The caramelized onions have a slightly sweet but still savory flavor that matches really well with the sweet potatoes; the brown sugar brings that out a little more giving it a really nice balance of savory and sweet.
3 Medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion
1 Tbs butter or 1 Tbs olive oil
½ cup water
3 Tbs brown sugar
Salt to taste
Caramelize the onions first. Thinly slice onions, then melt one Tbs butter or 1 Tbs of olive oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet or dutch oven. Add the onions and toss to coat in the butter or oil. Let the onions cook for about 30 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. You want to make sure none of them stick to the bottom so add more butter or oil if needed.
This is a slow process that brings out the natural sugars in the onion, there is no way to speed it up, be patient or you will be sorry. (For those of you who also read the grown up green bean casserole recipe-yes, this is the same, sorry for writing it twice.)
While the onions are caramelizing, peel and cube the sweet potatoes
Once the onions are done, add the sweet potatoes and the ½ cup of water. Cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Stir the potatoes occasionally to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom, add more water by the Tbs if needed.
Once the sweet potatoes are soft add the brown sugar and cook for an additional 2 minutes until the brown sugar has melted into a sauce, toss to be sure everything is evenly coated.
Here is a tip- If you are making both the green bean casserole and this, a good time saving tip is to caramelize all the onions at the same time. Keep the onions you need for the sweet potatoes in the skillet and transfer the other ones to a bowl to coat with panko.
Sidenote- I made this while I was home in Michigan, and interestingly, I did it differently. I caramelized the onions in a chop rather than a slice, and I roasted the peeled and cubed sweet potatoes until tender in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. When they were tender, I mashed them in the casserole dish, added a little half and half and salt and pepper, and mixed in the caramelized onions. Then when I was ready to serve, I reheated the whole thing in a 350 degree oven for about 20 more minutes. Deeeelicious. – Cat