How to make ‘Sweet Potato Queen’ casserole like a true Southerner

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

Some years ago, Mississippi’s Jill Conner Browne wrote a series of hilarious books based on her “Sweet Potato Queen” stories and philosophies of Southern culture. Fortunately, she also offered a recipe for said-named casserole, which I’ve expropriated and adapted through the years because my daughter likes it so much.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

It’s now a staple of our Thanksgiving feast and equally delicious leftovers. That’s why I usually make two casseroles – one for the midday meal and another for later.

You will love it, and it couldn’t be much easier. It’s a nice, fluffy, modern “company” side dish that I think is far superior to grandma’s marshmallow-topped version. You will appreciate it even more, if you read Jill’s books.

Header image via louisianasweetpotatoes.wordpress.com and used in accordance with the Creative Commons user agreement.

SWEET POTATO QUEEN CASSEROLE

(With thanks to author Jill Conner Browne, the real Sweet Potato Queen)

Jill Conner Browne (via http://www.sweetpotatoqueens.com/)

Jill Conner Browne (via http://www.sweetpotatoqueens.com/)

EQUIPMENT

  • Mixer (stand type is better unless you have an eager assistant)
  • chopping board and knife
  • paring knife
  • fork
  • rubber spatula
  • measuring equipment
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • 9×13” casserole dish
  • aluminum foil
  • cooking spray
  • cereal bowl
  • mixing spoon

INGREDIENTS

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

TOPPING

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

CASSEROLE

  • 4-5 large sweet potatoes (I highly recommend storing sweet potatoes in refrigerator 1-2 weeks, which brings out their sweetness.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

LET’S GET STARTED

Preheat oven to 400. Rinse sweet potatoes and remove exterior strings. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, place potatoes evenly onto sheet.

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

Poke 4-5 holes in the tops of each. Bake 1 hour. (To be sure they are done, poke a fork into the center. If it hits solid, it needs to cook another 10-15 minutes. If the center is soft, you’re done.)

Remove done potatoes from the oven, Put a sheet of foil over them to create some steam, which will make them easier to peel. Allow them to rest 10-15 minutes or longer until they are cool enough to handle. Cut ends off each potato, slide your paring knife under the skin and peel it back. If you still have a “paper-like” skin underside, dark cooked places, remaining potato eyes or “stringy” exterior flesh (especially near the ends), use your paring knife to remove lightly.

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch rounds, put them into your mixing bowl. About half way filled, add a stick of butter. Then top with the rest of your cooked potatoes. On slow speed, start your mixer using the beater blade. When it’s broken up the potatoes, add cinnamon and continue to mix for smoother mixture.

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

In a glass measuring cup, add salt, milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat with a fork to incorporate. Pour into potato mixture and slowly increase mixing speed to whip into a lighter, smoother mixture, scraping once with rubber spatula. Mixing may take 10-15 minutes.

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

When sufficiently smooth texture is accomplished (don’t worry if it isn’t perfectly smooth), pour into the casserole dish and spread evenly with rubber spatula.

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

For topping, add flour and chopped nuts into cereal bowl and mix until nuts are coated.

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

Add brown sugar and mix thoroughly, then melted butter and mix until well incorporated.

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

With a tablespoon, drop dollops of sugar-nut mixture onto the casserole top. I start in the middle, go to the corners and then add more dollops into the open areas. Don’t worry that your topping doesn’t cover everything. When baked, it’s going to melt all over the place.

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make sweet potato casserole like a true Southerner (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

Tear off a foil sheet to cover. Spray foil underside lightly with cooking spray so foil won’t stick to topping. Attach foil over the casserole and secure tightly. (At this stage, you can freeze this and thaw a day or so before you want to bake it.) Bake 350 for 30-45 minutes, remove foil for another 15 minutes. Cooking time depends on how cold the casserole is when you put it into the oven.

Come back to NewinNOLA.com every week for “Southfacin’ Cook,” where Patsy explains the basics to Southern cooking and eating. Contact her with suggestions, questions or requests at patsy.brumfield@gmail.com.

Previous recipes from Patsy:

• Hummus
• Gumbo
• Quiche

5 thoughts on “How to make ‘Sweet Potato Queen’ casserole like a true Southerner

  1. PATSY R. BRUMFIELD says:

    BTW, cooks – this last photo is BEFORE it goes into the oven. I put this one in the freezer and I’ll bake it on Thanksgiving. … patsy

  2. Joy Nanney says:

    Help! Sweet potato casserole recipe
    Ingredients call for 1 cup sugar.
    Directions say mix salt, milk, eggs, vanilla.
    Milk amount? When add sugar?

    • @Joy – Sorry again about the boo-boo. I was able to interrupt Patsy during her holiday cooking. She said to add 1/3 cup milk. You add the milk, sugar, salt, eggs and vanilla at the same time.

      I’ve updated the recipe to reflect the corrections. Thanks for reading and thanks for helping us make the recipe better.

  3. Pingback: How to make homemade chicken-vegetable soup like a real Southerner | New in NOLA

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