These candied sweet potatoes work as a side dish for any dinner or holiday celebration by balancing citrusy sweet and savory flavors — and they also produce top-notch leftovers. Right out of the oven or the fridge, they are sure to add a pleasantly tart note to any meal.
The braising liquid thickens as the tubers cook, resulting in a tangy glaze that coats every bite. Its acidity also helps the sweet potatoes stay intact with a slight bite even as they soften. The thinly sliced orange zest becomes tender and develops a marmalade-like taste. The shiny strips make for a beautiful garnish, along with the syrupy pan sauce.
Citrus-glazed sweet potatoes
• 3 medium oranges
• 1 lemon
• 2 limes
• 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 9 small)
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use a vegetable peeler to peel strips of zest off 2 oranges. Cut the strips into thin matchsticks and transfer to a large bowl. Juice all the oranges, the lemon and limes into the bowl for 1 1/4 cups juice. Whisk in the brown sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper until the sugar dissolves.
Peel the sweet potatoes, removing the skin and the tougher layer of flesh just beneath. Cut into 1-inch thick rounds or pieces, add to the citrus mixture and toss to coat.
Transfer the sweet potatoes and juice mixture to a 9-by-13-inch shallow glass baking dish. Dot the top with the butter. Bake, stirring every 20-30 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender and glazed, 1 1/2-2 hours.
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. The dish can be made ahead and cooled, then wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat in a 350-degree oven, covered with foil, covered with plastic wrap.
Total time: 2 1/2 hours, serves 6.
You can bake these at 350 degrees as well. They will take 15-45 minutes longer.