When I was growing up in Texas, the Thanksgiving meal was typically just my parents, my brother and me. We did not have many relatives that lived near us. So, if no one visited Houston that year, well, there was plenty of turkey for the four of us. Now that I have a family of my own, and we have both sides of the family living nearby, well, the holiday meal is definitely more exciting and definitely more noisy!
Honestly, I like the big family chaotic dynamics. There is always something happening, good or bad, amongst the kids and even the adults. There’s cheering and booing watching the football game, there’s too many cooks in the kitchen and there’s plenty of love and laughter for all to enjoy.
And despite our large size at the Thanksgiving table, there is always plenty of food.
Anyone who comes to my house for Thanksgiving will find all the traditional foods you would expect to find—only made healthier or with a little twist. I love squash and sweet potatoes, but I do not love it drowned in sugar and marshmallows.
These Hasselback sweet potatoes are simple to make. And topped with caramelized onions, pecans and raisins, they get a gourmet touch without the added sugar.
It’s a win-win for everyone, in my book!
Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions, Pecans and Raisins
- 4 large sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, divided
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoon pecans, chopped
- 1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF
- Wash the potatoes and, if necessary, cut a section from the bottom so the potatoes can sit flat on the cutting board.
- Place wooden chopsticks on either side of the potato and using a sharp knife, slice the potatoes approximately 1 centimeter thick without cutting all the way through. The chopsticks will help prevent this from happening, but you will need to be more careful on the ends as the chopsticks may not be high enough.
- Gently fan open the potato and place in a baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the sweet potatoes.
- 5. Brush and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the potatoes, making sure you brush between the potato slices. Season with 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme.
- Bake until fork tender, but not mushy, about 1 hour.
- While potatoes are baking, place a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
- When oil is hot, add onion slices. Sauté until onions soften and then reduce heat to low. Continue cooking and stirring onions until they brown and start to caramelize, approximately 30-45 minutes.
- When onions are caramelized, stir in 1/3 cup raisins, 2 tablespoon pecans, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme.
- About 15 minutes before the potatoes are done cooking, sprinkle the onion-raisin mixture over the potatoes and resume cooking until potatoes are done.
- Serve immediately.
Laura Bashar blogs at Family Spice, and is the photographer and co-author of the cookbook: Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil. She’s also chaos manager of a family of five while soaking up the sun in San Diego, California.