About This Recipe
Along with their vivid complementary colors, the two main flavors here mesh beautifully. They come at sweetness from opposite directions — earthy and herbal — and meet in the middle to create a sublime accompaniment to all manner of autumn dishes.
Sweet potatoes and fennel are both excellent sources of fiber, and your spuds will be super high in beta-carotene if they’re orange and anthocyanins if they’re purple. Yogurt and butter both add some protein and healthy fats.
- 3 large (about 1½ pounds / 650 g) sweet potatoes
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) yogurt
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Fresh-grated nutmeg
- 1 large fennel bulb, including stalks, fronds trimmed and reserved
- 2 Tbsp (30 g) butter
- 2 Tbsp (20 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp fennel seed, toasted and ground
- 1/4 tsp salt
Step 1Poke the sweet potatoes a few times with a fork to create holes for steam to escape. Put them on a baking sheet and bake until they’re very soft, 45 to 55 minutes. Let them cool until you can easily handle them, then halve them and scoop the flesh out into a bowl. Add the yogurt and salt and use a microplane to grate in about 1/4 tsp of nutmeg. Use an immersion blender to make a smooth purée. Taste for salt and adjust, if necessary, then set aside.
Step 2Juice the fennel; you should have at least 1 cup of juice. (Letting a few fronds run through the juicer will yield a greener juice.) Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and let it just begin to brown, 3 minutes. At that point, add the flour and stir it well to combine with the butter. Let the roux cook gently, stirring, until the mixture turns a fragrant, nutty light brown, 1 minute. At that point, add the fennel seed and juice and whisk them into the roux, adding the salt as you whisk. Bring it to a simmer and cook until it thickens, about 2 minutes, whisking occasionally. Pour the gravy into a serving bowl or pitcher.
Step 3Warm the sweet potato purée, if necessary, then spoon a mound of them on each plate and make a little crater in the top, like a volcano. (Whistle the theme from Close Encounters while you do it for maximum enjoyment.) Fill the crater with gravy, sprinkle on some chopped fennel fronds, and serve.
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