I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. I went to a potluck at a dear friend’s home in Brooklyn. There were fourteen of us this year, and the table was a riot of colors and flavors, from kale salad to stuffed cabbage rolls to two different kinds of stuffing. I brought my three favorite side dishes: mashed sweet potatoes, raw cranberry relish, and cornbread.
Making three easy sides was just my speed this year, as I only just turned in my new book a few days before the holiday, and am now in the process of adjusting back to “normal” life. Yes, I’m very happy to say that the book has been sent off to the printer. I will get a chance to see proofs in a week or so, when we’ll scan for major errors, but aside from that, she’s all done! After a year immersed in Persian cuisine, I went back to good ol’ American cooking for Thanksgiving, and made this colorful version of cornbread from my first book, Lucid Food. For more holiday side dish ideas, check out my cooking videos over at eHow.
Sweet Potato and Cranberry Cornmeal Biscuits
My contribution to my family’s Thanksgiving meal has always been cornbread. In making it so many times, I discovered that it’s a great vehicle for fruit, cooked grains, or vegetables. This variation has a thick batter, so these are more like biscuits than bread. Pale orange and scarlet- flecked, these biscuits make a beautiful addition to a holiday table. Makes 12 biscuits
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 2 teaspoons salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon melted butter for brushing
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a baking sheet or muffin tin and set aside.
Put the sweet potato in a small saucepan with the orange juice, 1/2 cup water, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat slightly and boil gently, covered, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Coarsely mash the potatoes and cooking liquid with the 5 tablespoons butter and maple syrup. Stir in the cranberries. Let cool and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in the sweet potatoes. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
To form each biscuit, pack the dough to just below the top of a 1/3-cup measuring cup, then invert and tap out onto the backing sheet. Repeat to make 12 biscuits total. Brush the top of each biscuit with a little melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate and continue baking until the tops are golden and firm, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or cold.