SweetPotatoCasseroleAs Thanksgiving approaches, I always look to the south for the best variations on traditional dishes and New Orleans Chef Alex Patout delivers in a big way.  This is not healthy, it is merely the best thing you'll ever eat.  

I had to make a separate pan of this for my daugher as she would sneak it up to her room away from the group. This from a girl I was convinced lived on air alone throughout most of her childhood.  Sweet Potato Praline Casserole!  I promise you - you will be the favorite if you prepare this for your people.  And one of them will most likely stalk you for the leftovers every single year.

This casserole is very easy to set up the day before so you can either grab it and take it  along or to pop into the oven as you let the turkey cool.  It calls for a candy thermometer but I've never used one.  If you are familiar with preparing a roux it will be pretty easy, it's about that color.  For the rest of us just wait for it to darken and get sticky.  Can you go wrong with praline, really?  No.  

This is taken from Alex Patout's Cajun Home Cooking - full of delicious recipes I might add.  

Sweet Potato Praline Casserole

Makes 6 to 8 servings

5 large sweet potatoes

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter

1 /2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Scrub sweet potatoes and place in the oven. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes, and remove. When they are cool enough to handle, halve them and scoop out the insides into a large mixing bowl. Mash well. You should have about 3 cups.

Mix in softened butter, ½ cup granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla, and milk. Pour the mixture into a baking pan or casserole dish.

Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar and stir until it dissolves. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it reaches the soft-ball stage on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and beat in the melted butter and pecans. Pour mixture over the sweet potatoes. Bake until very hot and beginning to brown.