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For years and years when I cooked at the Manor each November I was charged with cooking a huge Thanksgiving feast for upwards of about 25 people.  It was quite an undertaking and usually consisted of a first course (normally pumpkin soup which the Mrs loved), the main dinner of course with the turkey and all of it’s side dishes and at least two desserts, but more often three . . .  oh and homemade rolls.  

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I was always exhausted at the end of it all!!  (and I wouldn’t even have had the benefit of enjoying a turkey dinner myself.  They did not feed the staff there.)  I didn’t mind really because by that time I was beyond being hungry anyways.  All I would want to do is to get home and put my feet up!

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Some of the side dishes would change from one year to the next, depending on the Mrs’ whim . . .  but there were several things that were always the same . . .  the turkey . . . cornbread stuffing . . .  and this sweet potato soufflee that she liked me to make.  It was quite sweet and covered in a praline/nut topping for crunch and then marshmallows.  They had it with their turkey alongside of everything else.   I can’t say it was really my cup of tea, but they loved it!

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This version here today is more to my taste . . . it’s more savoury and uses garlic and grated parmesan cheese which you mash together with the sweet potatoes, some butter and some seasoning.  It’s quite simple really.

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I do like to add a crunchy topping for interest and looks . . . after all it’s a holiday dinner . . .  this is simply panko bread crumbs, more grated Parmesan and some chopped pecan nuts.   I think it’s very nice actually and the Toddster likes it too.   He was not keen on the sicky sweet variety either.  IN any case, if sicky sweet is not your cup of tea then you just might enjoy this!

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*Savoury Sweet Potato Casserole*
Serves 6

A delicious alternative for those people who don’t like the sickly sweet version.  You can do this the day before up to adding the crisp topping.   Add the topping just prior to the final baking. 

5 medium sweet potatoes

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 TBS butter

4 TBS finely grated Parmesan Cheese

1 fat clove of garlic, finely minced

For the Topping:

4 TBS crisp dry bread crumbs (I use panko)

2 TBS finely grated Parmesan Cheese

1 TBS butter melted

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

60g of coarsely chopped pecan nuts (1/2 cup)  

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Wash your sweet potatoes, dry and them place them on a baking sheet.  Roast them in the heated oven for 50 to 60 minutes until well cooked.  Allow them to cool to the point where you can handle them.   Slip them out of the skins into a bowl and mash them well, along with the salt, pepper, butter, parmesan cheese and garlic.   Lower the oven temperature to 190*C.375*F/ gas mark 5.

Lightly butter a shallow baking dish.   Spread the sweet potatoes into this dish.  Stir together all of the topping ingredients and sprinkle them over top of the sweet potatoes in the dish.  Bake for an additional ten minutes, until golden brown.   Serve hot.

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