Happy Fakesgiving

We're less than three weeks from Thanksgiving and do you know what that means? It means that this meal is all David and I are talking and thinking about...while this is sort of an anniversary for us, more than that it's our favorite holiday.

There's no presents, no rush, no pressure to spend too much or not buy the right thing, just days of cooking your favorite dishes and sharing a spectacular meal with people you love.

In preparation for this upcoming holiday, a friend of ours invited us over for "Fakesgiving." No, it was not a vegan dinner with textured meat product (thank goodness!), but rather a gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner.

We had a gorgeous 20 lb. perfectly cooked turkey, gluten-free dressing, gluten-free gravy, green beans with bacon and blue cheese (gluten-free, of course), two kinds of cranberries (David prepared a cooked version and our hostess made an unbelievable raw version) along with a dish I made that featured roasted sweet potatoes and bananas and a crumble-like topping. Oh, and then there was that maple pecan pie (no corn syrup in this beauty) and pumpkin pie. Both gluten-free, no doubt.

Everything was amazing and we all gobbled it up and went back for more!

So as you begin to prepare your menu for Thanksgiving and think about what you and your family and friends will be sharing, I'd like to share what I made with you. Originally a Tyler Florence recipe that I made for Thanksgiving at least three years ago which we loved but it was just too sweet and too rich. Actually, it was so sweet in its original form it could easily be a dessert and a quite decadent one at that which is not what I had in mind. 

So I modified it significantly and came up with what is now a delightful addition to any turkey or holiday dinner. Not over the top, but healthy and absolutely different. And no marshmallows! The crumb topping adds just the right crunch and texture that kids of all ages will devour.

Buen provecho!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Banana Mash
The Cowgirl Gourmet seriously adapted this recipe from Tyler Florence's Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey

Print recipe

I am not a fan of casseroles or really even the concept, but this recipe is one that will be appreciated by anyone who makes Thanksgiving or any holiday dinner since you can roast the sweet potatoes and banana well in advance and then bake it at the last minute. It is sweet, but not too sweet and the topping adds an unusual crunch factor, which everyone will love!

Serves 6-8

For the potatoes and banana:
3 medium sweet potatoes, preferably organic and definitely washed well
2 bananas, unpeeled
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1/4 cup milk (fat free, whole, almond, soy, etc.)
Pinch of kosher salt

For the topping:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour or organic brown rice flour (for a gluten-free dish)
3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the ends off of the sweet potatoes and reserve them. Place the washed sweet potatoes in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil or just place them on a large piece of aluminum foil on the oven rack. Add the ends of the potatoes on the aluminum foil, too, as they are great for snacks, but watch them carefully so they do not burn.

The potatoes will need about an hour to cook and the bananas about 20 minutes, so just add the bananas toward the end of the cooking hour. Cook until both are very soft and squishy. Remove the potatoes and banana from the oven and allow to cool. If you are making this dish in advance, turn off the oven, but if not, leave it on.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl or food processor. The skin should really just come off quite easily. Alternatively, if you bought organic potatoes, consider tossing the skin in with the flesh--for some added nutrients. Slice the bananas in half lengthwise as well and add them to the bowl or food processor--juice and all.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter and a 1/4 cup of milk. Season the mixture with a pinch of kosher salt and process or beat vigorously with a wooden spoon or mash with a potato masher until everything is well combined and the mixture is fluffy. Taste it to make sure it tastes delicious. Spoon mixture into a round or square oven-proof baking dish and smooth the top.

In a separate bowl, use your fingers to rub together 3 tablespoons diced butter, brown sugar and flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then add the chopped pecans. Alternatively, you could toss the butter pieces, flour, sugar and pecans in the food processor and pulse a few times until it all comes together.
Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the sweet potatoes and banana mixture and place in a 400 degree oven.
Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the crumbs are golden.
Serve immediately and watch it disappear.

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