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Recipe: Sous-vide can lend a hand to side dishes, in a most delectable way

  • New York Times photos
                                A sous-vide machine is attached to a large pot in preparation for cooking a bag of sweet potatoes to make a Thanksgiving side dish.

    New York Times photos

    A sous-vide machine is attached to a large pot in preparation for cooking a bag of sweet potatoes to make a Thanksgiving side dish.

Breaking out a sous-vide machine on Thanksgiving is a game changer. Not only will it cook a turkey breast conveniently and easily, you can also use it for mashed potatoes and brown-sugar sweet potatoes.

And it does so conveniently and quietly, without adding to the already prodigious mess of the day.

Just note that the thinner you slice your potatoes, the more quickly they will cook. And make sure to poke several at the end, so you know they are all done. (Err on the side of overcooking here.) Sous-vide potatoes can sometimes cook unevenly, and making sure they are all very tender is important for a smooth, silky puree.

SOUS-VIDE CHEESY MASHED POTATOES

By Melissa Clark

  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 12 ounces mild cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (3 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup hot milk, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives (optional)

In a large pot or heatproof container, use a sous-vide machine to heat water to 194 degrees. Evenly divide potatoes and salt between 2 large, sealable plastic bags. Slowly lower bags into water, allowing any air to escape; seal bags. Seal bags and weigh down.

Cook until potatoes are completely tender, poking them several times to make sure, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

As potatoes cook, combine butter, cheddar, sour cream, Parmesan, pepper and nutmeg in large bowl.

Add hot potatoes and milk; mash until cheese melts and mixture is as smooth as you like it, adding more hot milk if potatoes seem dry.

Taste and add more salt, if needed. Serve immediately, or transfer potatoes back to sous-vide bag to keep warm. Fold in chives just before serving. Serves 10 to 12.

BROWN SUGAR SWEET POTATOES WITH PECANS

By Melissa Clark

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or apple cider
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium-large), peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped (see note)

In a small pot over medium heat, melt butter, then add sugar, cinnamon stick and salt, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.

Remove from heat, stir in bourbon; let cool slightly.

In a large pot or heatproof container, use a sous-vide machine to heat water to 185 degrees. Place potatoes and cooled sugar mixture in a large, sealable plastic bag. Slowly lower bag into water, allowing any air to escape. Seal bag and weigh down. Cook until sweet potatoes are completely tender, poking them several times to make sure, 75 to 90 minutes.

Transfer cooked potatoes and all the liquid from bag to a food processor and puree until smooth. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Transfer to a serving platter and top with toasted pecans. Serves 6 to 8.

>> NOTE: To toast pecans, spread on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees, stirring once or twice, until golden and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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