I recall the first time I put a sweet potato in my grocery cart. My oldest child had just started eating solids and I read in one of those parenting magazines, that sweet potatoes make a good first solid food. And I realized it wasn't our thing. I found it odd that a tuber used as vegetable in cooking could taste this sweet. Almost 11 years would pass before I gave sweet potatoes another try. And only because we were doing our feeble attempt at GAPS diet, a healing protocol that eliminates grains, starchy tubers, and sugars (honey is allowed) and other foods that can potentially compromise gut health. During our short stint on GAPS, I experimented a lot with sweet potatoes. Some made the mark, others didn't.
However, this side dish far exceeded my expectations. I think it's the bacon. Yeah, it's gotta be the bacon. Crispy, salty, smoky, greasy, meaty bacon. Definitely the bacon. Because anything that has that much bacon automatically gets my vote!
But if the copious amount of pig fat doesn't convince you try this: this dish takes me a whopping 30 minutes to prepare! While the potatoes are steaming, the bacon is frying away in my counter-top convection oven (you can also use regular oven). As a side note: steaming is my preferred method of cooking vegetables as more nutrients are retained when cooked in this manner. No steamer? Just place your vegetables in a large saucepan and add about ½" of filtered water and cook covered on low-medium heat.
And last reason I love this sweet potato mash? Because I get to sneak in some of my wholesome and nourishing bone broth in. Not that we have any issues drinking it straight up, but I'll take any opportunity to add more of it to our diet. I'm sneaky that way. I'd probably sneak bone broth into ice cream, if I could. Hmm.. now that's a thought.
Easy Sweet Potato Mash with Bacon
It's not necessary to preheat your oven for bacon, in fact, it's best not to so it's cooked evenly. Spread bacon on a baking sheet, preferably with a wire rack, and bake at 400° F (205°C) for approximately 12-15 minutes or until crispy.
Steam 1" pieces of washed and peeled sweet potatoes on low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until tender when pierced with fork.
Place cooked bacon on a paper towel to absorb the grease. Save the bacon drippings, you will need 1-3 tablespoons for later and the rest you can save for your morning eggs 🙂
Using kitchen shears, cut the bacon strips into ½" pieces. Note: alternatively, you can cut first and then cook on skillet (my preferred choice).
Straight in the cooking pot, combine your cooked sweet potatoes, bone broth (no need to heat), butter and bacon fat, garlic and salt using a hand mixer. Note: you can use all butter or all bacon fat, it depends on personal preference. Just use about 3 tablespoons of fat blend for that rich, smooth texture. Immersion blender works great for this as well.
Scoop the prepared sweet potato mash in your serving bowl and sprinkle with cooked, crispy bacon. Garnish with parsley flakes.
Serve immediately but it's also great reheated as leftovers.