Bourbon, bacon, shallots, ginger, sweet potatoes… what’s not to like? Although we have nothing against French fries, if you would like a change of pace, try these Bacon Sweet Potato Sticks with anything that goes with fries: fried fish, steak, burgers. Likewise, for a change of pace from mushy Thanksgiving sweet potatoes, serve them with roasted turkey, or pair them with Christmas ham. We tested the recipe two ways — with and without peeling the sweet potatoes. It worked in both cases, but we prefer not having to peel the potatoes (and the skin is loaded with nutrients). Word of caution: Just like French fries or potato chips, once you start eating sweet potato sticks it’s hard to stop, as we found when we took our first test batch from the oven.Bacon Sweet Potato Sticks with Bacon-Bourbon SauceServes 4 to 6
- 3 medium-size sweet potatoes (2¼ to 2½ pounds total), trimmed and well scrubbed
- 5 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
- Unsalted butter
- ¾ cup diced shallots (about 2 large)
- 2 tsp chopped, peeled fresh ginger
- 1/3 cup bourbon or dark rum
- 4½ tsp packed dark brown sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F.
- Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Cut each sweet potato half lengthwise into three wedges. Place the wedges in a single layer in a large roasting pan or shallow baking dish (they should fit snugly) and set them aside.
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned but not crisp, five to seven minutes, stirring often and adjusting the heat as necessary. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving the bacon fat in the skillet. You should have about two tablespoons of fat. If necessary, pour off enough fat or add enough butter to the skillet to measure two tablespoons.
- Place the skillet over medium-high heat, add the shallots and ginger and, using a wooden spoon, stir and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook the shallot mixture until the shallots have softened, about two minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in one-and-a-half teaspoons of butter, the bourbon or rum, and the brown sugar. Cook just until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, about one minute.
- Drizzle the bourbon sauce over the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the drained bacon evenly over the potatoes and season them with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and bake the sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes. Then, uncover the pan and gently turn the sweet potatoes over. Continue baking the sweet potatoes until they are just tender, about 10 minutes longer. Spoon some of the browned bits of bacon and shallots from the bottom of the pan over the potatoes before serving.
Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer