the simplest and most quintessential thanksgiving side dish: candied bourbon pecan sweet potatoes
2 ½ lbs sweet potatoes, ends trimmed + diced ½”
6 tbsp salted butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp bourbon
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
4 oz (about 1 cup) chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the diced sweet potatoes onto a sheet pan and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Toss well to coat. Spread the potatoes into one, even layer. Season with a pinch of salt. Place the pan on the bottom rack in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, or until tender and slightly crisp.
When the sweet potatoes have about 5 minutes left of roasting, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and let melt. Whisk in the brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the glaze cook until thickened and syrupy. Stir in the pecans. If the glaze gets too thick and looks like it won’t easily coat the sweet potatoes, add a splash of water to loosen.
Transfer the sweet potatoes to the skillet and gently toss with the glaze. Serve on a large platter with any extra glaze in the skillet spooned over top.