When it comes to a special holiday dinner, traditional recipes are hard to beat. They’re convenient and reliable and everyone expects to see them on the table year after year. There may be comfort in the annual routine, but it is hard to deny the intrigue of trying something different. For a new take on the traditional sweet potato casserole, the chefs at The Culinary Institute of America suggest a Latin twist by making this side dish with plantains.
Latin cultures consider plantains a staple ingredient and have been enjoying the starchy version of the familiar yellow relative of the banana for centuries. They are as loved to them as potatoes are to European cultures and are eaten in both the green under-ripe state and when fully ripened and blackened in color. Under-ripe plantains are almost potato-like in flavor, and can be served boiled plain, simmered in soup, or fried.
“Plantains should be large, heavy, and firm with no shriveled or soft spots,” says CIA Chef Phil Crispo. “The flesh of the fully ripe fruit is a rich yellow that can be eaten raw, but is often cooked and mashed.”
Whip up a batch of Gingerbread Spiced Sweet Potato-Plantain Mash to complement your holiday entrée and excite hungry family and guests, Latin-style.
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Gingerbread Spiced Sweet Potato-Plantain Mash
Makes 6 servings
- 3 plantains, very ripe, approximately 2 cups
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, approximately 2 cups
- 1 1/2 large russet potatoes, approximately 2 cups
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream, hot
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk, hot
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Salt as needed
- Black pepper as needed
- In a 350 degree F oven, bake plantains, sweet potatoes, and russet potatoes in their skins until soft, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
- Once the potatoes and sweet potatoes are fully cooked, cut them lengthwise and force them, flesh side down, through a medium sized wire rack into a bowl. The skins will stay behind on the wire rack.
- Peel the plantains and puree together with the russet and sweet potatoes with a food mill or ricer, or mash in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Add the 1/4 cup cream, 1/4 cup milk, butter, and all the spices and mix until smooth. Depending on the ripeness of the plantains, you may need to add up to 1/4 cup more of both cream and milk if you find the mixture too dry.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Nutrition analysis per 1-ounce serving—40 calories, 1g protein, 6g carbohydrate, 1.5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 15mg sodium, 5mg cholesterol, less than 1g fiber.