Casey Glowacki of Five Loaves Cafe, Sesame Burgers & Beer, and Ember Wood Fired Kitchen serves up a savory spin on the Thanksgiving side
Sweet Potato Casserole
(Makes 7 servings)
4 Tbs. olive oil
3-4 large (6- to 8-oz.) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1⁄4-inch pieces
2 Tbs. salted butter, melted
2 Tbs. chopped rosemary
2 Tbs. chopped parsley
1⁄2 cup chopped scallions
1⁄4 cup golden raisons
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled goat cheese or grated blue cheese
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pan and sauté the potatoes over medium heat until they are dark brown on all sides and caramelized, but still fairly firm, about four to five minutes. Once the potatoes are about 60 percent cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, toss the potatoes with the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese. Pack the mixture into a large (13x9x2-inch) casserole dish until it is stacked about 1⁄2-inch high. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the cheese is completely melted and browned.
■ Cheese, please: “I prefer a cave-aged blue cheese, but my wife likes goat, so it’s usually goat at our house,” Glowacki laughs. Whichever side you fall on, both pungent cheeses pack a flavor punch, he says.
■ Balancing act: To ensure that the sweet potatoes have a uniform consistency, Glowacki suggests cooking the cubes in batches to avoid overcrowding in the pan. “You want the potatoes to be caramelized and a little crispy,” he explains.
■ Chunky over creamy: “I like texture, so I often eat my veggies al dente. In most cases, I think, food should be eaten as it is rather than cooked to a pulp,” Glowacki notes. “However, I can’t resist super smooth mashed potatoes.”
■ Black Friday lunch: “The day after Thanksgiving, I load two slices of bread with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and turkey. It’s heaven,” Glowacki says. Any leftovers—including this casserole—are fair game for piling on.
Meet the chef: Casey Glowacki
In 2003, well before he and his partner, Joe Fischbein, had a whole string of local restaurants including Five Loaves Cafe, Sesame Burgers & Beer, and Ember Wood Fired Kitchen (a pizzeria that opened in Mount Pleasant this summer), chef-owner Casey Glowacki was passing out samples of his soup at the downtown spot where Five Loaves would soon debut. He had learned how to make a hearty bowlful and more at the New England Culinary Institute and was committed to sharing his passion for creative twists on old favorites, such as this savory riff on sweet potato casserole. Traditionally, the Thanksgiving staple is smooth and toothache-sweet, but Glowacki’s version features chunky potatoes, aromatic herbs, and tangy cheese. “Savory always beats sweet for me,” he says. “Typically at the end of a big Thanksgiving meal, my dessert of choice is a super-hoppy IPA beer.”