I grew up hunting. Fall and winter weekends were spent camping in the woods of north Louisiana so that we could be in deer stands before dawn. On the coldest nights of the year we often had nothing more than a tent and a sleeping bag to keep away the chill. While other kids were waking up to watch cartoons I waited for deer while I watched the rising sun bathe autumn leaves in golden light as its warmth melted away the night’s frost. If the deer weren’t moving then I watched my own breath form clouds in the frigid morning air. Hunting was cold work, but hot baked sweet potatoes were our secret weapon against the cold.
The potatoes were always prepared the night before by wrapping them in foil and tossing them into the hot coals of the campfire. By morning the potatoes were hot and soft, and you could put one or two in your pockets after they cooled a few minutes.
The potatoes not only kept you warm but they doubled as a snack. Pulling away the foil revealed crispy, dry potato skin that was spotted by black singes from the coals. The flesh was soft, sweet, and steamy, while the edges were often roasty or caramelized and sugary sweet. I knew I could always look forward to the warmth and deliciousness of those potatoes, even if the deer weren’t moving. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons the sweet potato is something I am willing to eat every day.
I could easily line up an entire week’s worth of meals with sweet potato chowder, sweet potato fries, sweet potato and Thai curry soup, chipotle mashed sweet potatoes, or just simple baked sweet potatoes. To me it’s one of the most versatile and tasty foods on Earth.
This sweet potato soufflé has a texture like pumpkin pie, but the doppelbock makes it savory enough to be a side dish rather than a dessert. Doppelbock is a rich, malty, and full-bodied German style of beer that originally comes from Bavaria. Doppelbocks are known for having flavors of toasted malt and sometimes dark fruit like plum or raisin. These beers are also known for being pretty boozy, with ABVs averaging in the 8-9% range, but with some going below or above those numbers.
The doppelbock I’m using for this recipe is Troegenator from Tröeg’s Brewing Company in Hershey, PA. This beer works incredibly well in this recipe with its flavors like toasted bread, toffee, and figs.
– 1 to 1.25lbs of sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
– 1 cup of Doppelbock beer
– 1/2 cup of powdered milk
– 1/2 cup of butter (melted)
– 1/2 cup of maple syrup
– 3 eggs
– 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
– 1/8 tsp nutmeg
– 1 Tbsp flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp salt
1. Boil the sweet potatoes until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Then drain the water and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350F.
3. Grease a 9×9 casserole dish or six ramekins
4. Mix the beer and powdered milk together until the powdered milk is completely incorporated, being careful not to let the mixture foam too much.
5. Place the sweet potatoes, beer/milk mixture, butter, maple syrup, eggs, cinnamon, flour, and salt into a blender and blend until smooth.
6. Stir the baking powder into the mixture, being sure to mix it very well.
7. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish or ramekins.
8. Bake until set. About 45 minutes for a casserole dish, about 40 minutes for ramekins.
9. Can be served hot or cold, but should be allowed to cool at least 15 minutes.
[…] written in the past that I grew up hunting, but I learned to trap small game long before I was old enough to be trusted on my own with a gun. […]