North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and his wife Sharon enjoy celebrating the holidays with great food and even better company of their friends, family members, dogs and each other. Like most families, many of the dishes that fill their holiday tables have been passed down through years of tradition, including one of their favorites, Aunt Delores Sockwell’s Sweet Potato Casserole. “My Aunt Delores put this recipe in our family cookbook,” Sharon said, “she and her husband were dairy farmers and her grandson continues to run their Century Family Farm today.” With eleven family members surrounding the dinner table at Christmas, the Troxlers usually double this recipe. Sharon also recommends cooking the sweet potatoes the day before as well as peeling and mashing them. Any sweet potatoes that are not used in the recipe, she freezes for later. Be sure to stock up on local ingredients at your closest farmers market, roadside stand or other retailer and enjoy a tasty treat this holiday season straight from the Troxler’s kitchen to yours. Merry Christmas!
Aunt Delores Sockwell’s Sweet Potato Casserole
Six to eight N.C. sweet potatoes
3 cups cooked and mashed N.C. sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1 stick melted butter
1/3 cup half & half (or whole milk)
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Cooking the sweet potatoes:
Wash potatoes. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
Cover and turn the heat down to simmer and cook until tender.
Turn off the butter and let the potatoes sit in the water until cool, as this makes peeling them easier.
Drain and peel with hands (the potato skins should fall off easily).
Mash the potatoes in a large bowl, and either refrigerate over night and make the casserole the next day or continue to make the casserole.
Bake until almost done without the topping and then refrigerate until ready to put the topping on and finish baking.
Making the casserole:
Mix the casserole ingredients together well and spoon into dish.
Cover with topping and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Making the topping:
Mix well and spoon topping over sweet potato mixture just before baking.
If you do not need all of the topping, refrigerate and sprinkle on baked apples or save until the next casserole. Sharon says, “our grandkids like a lot of topping but it makes the dish almost like a dessert, which is not a bad thing!”