What's Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes? Chef Josh Habiger of Nashville's industrial-chic comfort-food mecca Pinewood Social takes the orange spud to new heights of delicacy and flavor. First, he slices them up, unpeeled, using a mandoline, then layers them with chopped pecans and fresh thyme. "Since you're seasoning every level as you go,” he says, "be conservative with the salt and sugar."
Serves: 6 – 8 Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes (includes chilling and reheating time) Active Time: 35 minutes Make Ahead: Up to 2 days
Ingredients: 3 shallots, thinly sliced by a mandoline ½ cup brown sugar ½ cup pecans, chopped, plus more for garnish 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, picked, plus more for garnish 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided Salt and freshly ground black pepper 7 sweet potatoes, unpeeled (optional), thinly sliced by a mandoline Sugar, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit the (ideally) 9" x 13" baking pan. Place one piece of parchment paper inside pan; mist with pan spray.
3. Combine shallots, sugar, pecans, thyme, 3 tbsp oil, and 1 tsp each salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
4. Layer one sixth of the sweet potato slices on the bottom of the pan. Shingle them so they overlap completely and no gaps remain. Top with one fifth of the shallot mixture, about ¼ cup.
5. Repeat with remaining layers of sweet potatoes and shallot mixture, ending with a layer of sweet potatoes. (You will have a total of 6 sweet potato layers.)
6. Brush with remaining 1 tbsp oil; season with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper. Top with remaining piece of parchment paper; cover with another same-size pan. Add pressure to pans while baking, perhaps with a cast-iron pan or two.
7. Bake for 50–60 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are very tender. Cool completely with the pans still on top. Once cooled, transfer the pavé onto a cutting board; trim off jagged edges. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator until ready to heat and serve.
8. Cut into even-size pieces, and reheat in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes.
9. Optional: While pavé is still warm, sprinkle with sugar and caramelize with a torch.
10. Garnish with a few thyme leaves and chopped pecans.