Stove Top Candied Sweet Potatoes
I am republishing this post in honor of Retro Rose, who passed away this week. I wish I could have one more day, and one more time to see her make her signature dish.
I don’t usually eat food dripping in buttery, browned sugar, but I make exceptions and my mom’s Candied Sweet Potatoes are one of those. Once you’ve eaten these (even if you don’t have a sweet tooth), you’ll be hooked.
Retro Rose was and still is my mother. She cooked very differently from me. She cooked more old school, and while I take notes from the past, I tend to go a slightly more modern, healthier route. There are exceptions. There are holidays, Sundays and just because I need retro food to feel good days.
I named her Retro Rose, because she loved antiques, especially vintage pictures. I named her Retro Rose because she is/was a retro cook, and I mean that in a good way. She cooked from scratch , and it was her dishes that people wanted the recipe. There never was a recipe. I have one here for the Stove Top Candied Sweet Potatoes because she came over one year before Thanksgiving and made them so I could post them here.
I remember oranges and maple syrup flying and no shortage of brown sugar. The cinnamon stick always made me feel nostalgic, guaranteeing this dish to be one with many layers of flavor and sweet, while still being balanced.
It’s only been a few days, and I can’t fathom that she is not here. She loved to talk about recipes, especially starting a month before any holiday. I think she liked the food conversation and planning better than the eating.
Retro Rose passed away at age 84. She drove and made her own meals right up to the last week. She touched people in an unusual way. I had friends break down and deeply cry, even friends that knew her briefly. The lady behind the cash register broke down, and we are still concerned about how to tell her nail guy and hair dresser. Her doctor was grief stricken and said over and over how he will miss her. Her neighbors are young as she lived in an apartment and not senior living. They are crushed.
We will be celebrating her life the week before Thanksgiving, and I have to grapple with how to handle this. She liked spaghetti and meatballs, cheeseburgers, donuts and bagels.
I hope you make these candied sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving and make these sweet potato biscuits with the leftovers. She will be smiling down.
More Thanksgiving Food
The fresh turkey is dry brined, and then roasted in cheesecloth.
Retro Rose will bring the Pennsylvania Dutch Corn Pudding.
I’ll be making roasted brussels sprouts and a pear and pomegranate salad and sweet potato biscuits. I’ve already made a medley of pies, blackberry, apple and pumpkin. Corn bread stuffing will arrive with cranberry sauce and wine. Retro Rose’s friend Eleanor will bring her violin.
A lot of fuss for one day, but we revel in this. It’s the one day of the year we indulge in making memories.
The Process for Stove Top Candied Sweet Potatoes
Thanksgiving is the best holiday for material for family movies. Families that are a little kooky, (who’s isn’t), and there are always reminders of harsh family moments along with the best family moments. I think food is the cushion for the drama, the disappointments, the broken hearts.
If we can connect a loving moment with a taste of stuffing, we fare better, because it’s been my experience that even when a person has disappointed me, I am a lot more forgiving when there is food as a peace offering.
We all have moments in our life we wish never happened, but a good meal is not one of them. When I ate Retro Rose’s stove top candied sweet potatoes, all I saw was a sweet Italian mama, cooking with love (which she is good at).
Retro Rose's Legendary Stove Top Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Cut sweet potatoes across into 1/2 discs.
- In a dutch oven (large enough to fit all sweet potatoes), melt the butter with brown sugar. Add cinnamon, ground cloves.
- Add in sweet potatoes.
- Squeeze oranges over potatoes. Put orange skins in pot.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add in cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and apple juice, (can add water or orange juice). You will need to judge how necessary adding liquid is.
- Cover and cook on low heat for about an hour, stirring every ten minutes or so.
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