I enjoy doing food research. Recently, I learned that March has been noted as potato month. I can’t think of a more worthy vegetable to receive this honor.
When I was growing up in the South, potatoes of some kind usually found their place at every meal except breakfast. Potatoes are a part of the morning meal in many parts of our country. I have noticed that most Southern restaurants now offer potato casseroles or hash browns for the morning meal, and I have found myself ordering them more often for breakfast.
Sweet potatoes are most often served as dessert, and my favorites are sweet potato cobbler, sweet potato custard and sweet potato casserole.
My mother and I made sweet potato custard for dessert for many years but when my cookbook, “A Treasury of Southern Baking,” was being written, I was instructed by the publisher, HarperCollins, to call this a pie rather than a custard, because custard is not baked in a crust.
If you are trying to get more green veggies on the table with the hopes that your family will start to eat healthier food, you might like to make the following Potato Broccoli Bake.
Another idea is to make your favorite mashed potatoes and top them with something green. For dessert, you can enjoy the sweet potato pie.
POTATO BROCCOLI BAKE
- 4 cups Southern-style hash browns (cubed)
- ¼ to ½ cup cooked and crumbled bacon
- 1 (10.5 ounces) can cream of broccoli soup
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese
- 8 ounces French onion dip (sour cream base)
- 1 ½ cups round butter-type cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or butter a 13x2x9-inch baking pan. Pour hash browns into pan and sprinkle bacon over hash browns. In a bowl, combine soup, cheese and onion dip. Mix well and spoon onto top of potatoes. Carefully spread to cover top. Combine crumbs and butter. Mix well and sprinkle over top. Bake for about 30 minutes.
SWEET POTATO PIE
- 3 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
- 1 stick butter, softened at room temperature
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup tightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
- 1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine first seven ingredients and mix well. Pour into unbaked pie crust and bake 10 minutes. Immediately reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for about 25 minutes or until a thin-bladed knife comes out clean when inserted into center of pie. Cool completely before slicing.
Award-winning chef Prudence Hilburn’s cooking column appears every other week. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.