OPINION | FRONT BURNER: Roasted sweet potatoes get a spicy/savory kick

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Spiced Brown Sugar (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

This method for roasting sweet potatoes was a revelation. The spice mixture is all mine, but I have America's Test Kitchen (once again) to thank for helping me make the best roasted sweet potatoes I've ever put in my mouth.

The process differs in that the baking pan is covered with foil before going into a cold oven. That's right, these roasted sweet potatoes are covered and placed in the oven as it heats. The foil comes off in the last few minutes of cooking. I was sure they were going to turn out mushy from steaming. Instead, they were perfect — smooth and creamy on the inside and caramelized, with the slightest crunch on the bottoms.

I usually skip the sugar when I'm preparing sweet potatoes, finding them sweet enough on their own, and these are quite good without any additional embellishment.

But for something different, I finished them with a sprinkle of brown sugar spiced with cinnamon, chile and coriander. The spicy-savory notes of the ancho and coriander balanced the sweetness, providing just the right punch of heat.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Spiced Sugar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil, plus more for coating pan
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon chile powder such as ancho
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander

Line a large heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat foil with oil.

In a large bowl, combine the sliced sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil and place in cold oven. Set oven to 425 degrees and cook potatoes for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue roasting until potatoes are tender and golden brown, about 15 to 25 minutes more.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and spices.

Sprinkle mixture evenly over the potatoes and return pan to oven for 5 to 10 minutes more. Let potatoes cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring to a serving dish. Serve warm.

Makes about 4 servings.