Crock Pot Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
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A buttery topping of Bourbon glazed pecans with a hint of cayenne adorns the peaks and valleys of Crock Pot Sweet Potato Casserole.
With great appreciation, this sweet potato recipe courtesy of our friends at Eating Well Magazine!
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Crock Pot Bourbon Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole
Naturally sweet, particularly abundant due to easy cultivation, and delicious tasting, sweet potatoes and sweet potato recipes have been a popular food source in the American South for over three hundred years.
A very recent shift in eating habits and a call for natural foods, sweet potatoes are also playing a role as food colorant, replacing the decades long use of carmine, which is made from crushed cochineal insects. Manufacturers using carmine to color their products can’t label them as vegetarian or vegan, so sweet potatoes are becoming another coloring option.
And in terms of sweet potatoes and their popularity in the south, it just seems to be a food source prevalent to southern states many grew up eating, whether baked into breads or baked sweets, stirred into soups, or eaten as a cooked accompaniment to main dishes.
This whopper of a casserole feeds as many as fourteen as an elegant holiday side dish!
This is a fabulous make-ahead or make same day slow cooker method for sweet potato casserole. It will save time over roasted sweet potatoes or baked sweet potatoes which is something we all yearn for on the holiday itself, and when the dinner has to be just perfect.
The juice and zest of a Naval orange along with an array of warm spices come together in the slow cooker for 3 hours on high heat, or 6 1/2 hours on low heat. The resulting mash is piled into a buttered casserole and baked off if you want to achieve lightly charred peaks, or simply loaded into the casserole to be served as is.
A gorgeous buttery topping of Bourbon pecans with a hint of cayenne adorns the peaks and valleys of slow cooker sweet potatoes. One taste of this opulent southern side and you’ll wish you’d doubled the recipe.
How This Recipe Came About…
In people’s quests to eat healthier, and even on those days when “healthy” may seem as though it flew out the window, smart choice vegetable side dishes like this method for Crock Pot Bourbon Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole top the charts. This is also a whopper of a casserole to add to the holiday table without breaking the bank.
Sweet potatoes are entirely filling. And unlike their distant cousins the white potatoes, sweet potatoes win in the vitamin dense category, not to mention healthy carbs, and are a relatively low to medium- glycemic index food.
Do You Have What’s Needed To Make Crock Pot Bourbon Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole? Check The List!
a large Naval orange
How To Cook Sweet Potatoes In A Crock Pot?
Cooking sweet potatoes in the crock pot is deliciously simple. For this method, you must start with 4 pounds of sweet potatoes. They will cook down to much less, but still yield enough to feed fourteen people at a well-rounded half cup serving each.
You have a couple of options once your potatoes are peeled and sliced in terms of how much time you have to cook them. These guys can go all day – 6 1/2 hours – if you’re not in a hurry.
If however you need to ease of preparation in the crock pot coupled with a speedier cook, popping them into the crock on high heat for about three hours will get you there. I generally begin mine on high heat for the first hour, then reduce the heat to low for four to five more.
The lid must stay in place while the potatoes steam and break down. No stirring, no excuses. Just walk away after assembling them in the crock with the juice and zest of the orange and an array of warm spices and some sugar. The slow cooker will do the rest.
What Can I Substitute For The Bourbon In This Recipe?
If you’re not wanting to cook with and swerve the pecans as Bourbon pecans, simply omit the Bourbon. If you feel like you really need to add something in it’s place, consider 2 teaspoons of brown sugar cut with 1 teaspoon of apple cider.
Can I Serve This Sweet Potato Side Dish To Kids With The Bourbon Pecans?
Yes. There is exactly 1 tablespoon of Bourbon in this method and it’s burned off, largely leaving a sweet caramelized essence in its wake. It is not straight Bourbon, nor does it end up tasting like Bourbon.
Can The Bourbon Pecans Be Omitted?
Of course. And as with any ingredient you take out, consider replacing with something else. I know I will be asked about mini marshmallows. I think if omitting the Bourbon pecans, adding mini marshmallows would be great.
How Long Do These Crockpot Sweet Potatoes Take To Make?
Three hours on high heat, or six to six and one half on low heat. This does not include any oven time you may wish to add to char the peaks before serving or the time it takes to sauté the Bourbon pecans.
What If I Want To Make These Mashed Sweet Potatoes Ahead?
Easy. Make ahead according to the recipe card instructions and refrigerate the mashed sweet potatoes for up to 3 days.
Store the Bourbon pecans in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Can Crock Pot Bourbon Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole Be Frozen?
Yes! And this is why I love this casserole. I prepare and assemble according to the recipe card and freeze without the Bourbon pecan topping for up to three months.
When I am ready to serve, I thaw in the refrigerator overnight. I can then either re-heat in a 350°F oven covered for 30 to 40 minutes, or add back to the crock pot to re-heat there.
Either method, I am sure to prepare the buttery Bourbon pecan topping fresh and add just before I set the potatoes on the table.
Crock Pot Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
- 6 quart slow cooker
- hand held potato masher
- 4 quart casserole dish
- medium sized sauté pan
- 4 pounds sweet potatoes washed, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
- 1 large Naval orange zest and juice
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark; divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper divided
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- 1 tablespoon Bourbon
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste
- Place the peeled and sliced sweet potatoes in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Add orange zest, orange juice, 2 tablespoons each butter and brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 3 hours on High or 6 1/2 hours on Low. Mash with a potato masher until smooth.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a lightly buttered casserole dish. Place the casserole in the oven for 5 minutes before turning the element to the Broil setting. Allow the peaks of the sweet potatoes to turn a golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add pecans, bourbon, cayenne and the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with the pecans.
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