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We've Been Sleeping On Scalloped Sweet Potatoes For Far Too Long

scalloped sweet potatoes in baking dish
scalloped sweet potatoes in baking dish - Elena Shashkina/Shutterstock

There's a reason that scalloped potatoes are hailed as a comfort food classic. They've got all the right stuff –- potatoes, cream, and butter. It's difficult to imagine how to make this delicious side dish even better, but sometimes even old favorites need updating. One of the best ways to tweak scalloped potatoes is to change the main ingredient.

Swap out your regular old white or yellow potatoes for sweet potatoes in this dish, and you will be so thankful you did. Sweet potatoes have a lot to offer in terms of taste, and they actually have more in common with carrots than regular potatoes when it comes to flavor profile. They possess an earthy sweetness that works in both savory dishes and desserts, while regular potatoes are more nutty and buttery in flavor. And, there's a scientific reason why they taste different. They come from two different plant families. Sweet potatoes are part of the Convolvulaceae family, also known as the morning glory family. Regular potatoes are in the Solanaceae family, also known as nightshades. This taste difference makes sweet potatoes the perfect choice to star in a scalloped potato dish.

Read more: 11 Things You Didn't Know You Should Be Doing With Bacon

Getting The Most Out Of Your Sweet Potatoes

Bowl of sweet potato slices sitting by sweet potatoes
Bowl of sweet potato slices sitting by sweet potatoes - Typo-graphics/Getty Images

When preparing this sweeter take on scalloped potatoes, use the best sweet potatoes available. Make sure the ones you pick don't have any cracks or bruises. You may want to use larger-sized sweet potatoes since they can be more starchy than small ones. Give your sweet potatoes a good cleaning before peeling them.

To start, cut the sweet potatoes evenly using a mandoline slicer (watch your fingers). While some scalloped potato recipes call for blanching the potatoes before preparing the dish, you're going to want to skip this step for sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes have a higher moisture content than regular potatoes so you don't want them to get mushy. You're better off oven-baking the sweet potato slices briefly, to allow them to develop some crispiness, while you make your sauce. Once your scalloped sweet potatoes hit the oven, you'll need to keep a close watch -- they have a different cooking time than regular potatoes due to the higher sugar content.

Amp Up Your Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Cubed, sliced, and whole sweet potato on wooden board
Cubed, sliced, and whole sweet potato on wooden board - Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

Sweet potatoes taste delicious in the classic scalloped potato preparation -- baked in a sauce of cream or milk and lots of butter. Traditionalists may want to stay true to the original recipe, but this new variation presents a nearly blank canvas for experimenting with different flavors, too. Try balancing its natural sweetness with spice, by adding your favorite chile powder in the sauce. Including fresh herbs in the recipe, such as rosemary or thyme, is another way to boost the flavor of this dish.

Some scalloped potato recipes call for onions or leeks, which also work well with sweet potatoes. But there's no need to stop there. Considering how well sweet potatoes pair with nuts, adding a cheese with nutty notes, such as Gruyère, can enhance this dish. Adding salty elements, such as bits of bacon or pancetta, works well, too, contrasting the vegetable's sweetness.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.