Every Thanksgiving celebration needs a potato dish. Whether it’s basic mashed potatoes or a decadent sweet potato casserole, it’s just not Thanksgiving without spuds on the table!
Our potato dish of choice? A rich, sweet potato casserole with a brown sugar and pecan topping (never mashmallows…ick). I once saw the recipe and it called for a terrifying quantity of sugar and butter, more fitting for dessert than a side dish. It is so worth it. With the first three bites, I am in a creamy, buttery, nutty, orange cloud of bliss. But after a few bites, I’m pretty okay with waiting another 365 days for another taste.
Speaking of which, that brings up one of my favorite mindfulness strategies for enjoying the holidays without overdoing it. With each bite of food, you enjoy it less. This is especially true for high fat and high sugar foods, which oversaturate the taste buds. You might be thinking ‘Crazy Rachael. Then why do I want more when I’ve already polished off my plate?’ But as it turns out, what we perceive as pleasure is usually the memory of how awesome that first bite was, which was probably pretty darn awesome.
So what to do? Slow down and fully taste each bite. Notice the flavor, texture and aroma. Pretend you’re wine tasting (just don’t spit it out in a spittoon…that’s weird). Rate your level of enjoyment on a scale of 1-10 with each bite. There will be a point when you notice it’s only marginally pleasurable. I promise. I tried this with my mother-in-law’s macaroni and cheese on Scott’s birthday (which is AMAZING mind you) and I found after about 4-5 bites, I was satisfied.
Now, on to this dish. Potatoes Anna is a traditional French dish made with thinly sliced potatoes layered with generous amounts of butter. It’s deceivingly simple and incredibly delicious. I mean, potatoes and butter. How could it not be? For my version, I swapped out extra-virgin olive oil for the butter and added onions and garlic to boost the flavor. I also used layeres of both sweet and white Yukon gold potatoes, which gives this a lovely flavor combination and makes it Thanksgiving pretty, with layers of orange and golden-white.
One question I’m frequently asked is sweet potatoes versus white potatoes. My answer? Both! Both are nutrient-dense, unprocessed sources of carbohydrate – perfect fuel foods. While sweet potatoes are higher in vitamin A and lower in calories, white potatoes are higher in minerals, like potassium. In the end, it really just comes down to which one you prefer!
- 1½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- 1½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Using a mandolin slicer, carefully thin slice the Yukon gold potatoes and onion. Adjust the slicer so it cuts a little bit thicker, since the sweet potatoes cook faster.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously brush a cast iron skillet or baking dish with olive oil. Arrange overlapped slices of Yukon gold potato. Top with a little bit of onion, garlic and a pinch of thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Do the same with a layer of sweet potato and repeat, alternating layers, until all your potatoes are used. Drizzle the top layer with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place in the oven and bake 30-40 minutes until potatoes are golden.