I serve sweet potato confit every year at Thanksgiving, and it’s a hit every single time. In this recipe, I serve it with a luscious pomegranate maple butter sauce. You are definitely going to want this sweet potato side dish on your table this year.
This sweet potato confit is an update to a sweet potato side dish recipe I posted a few years ago. In this version, I keep it even simpler by omitting the whipped yogurt and adding butter to the pomegranate sauce. Either version is honestly delicious; it really just depends on your mood.
You may immediately think duck when you hear the word confit and imagine a complex, lengthy cooking process. In French cooking, confit–which means preserved–refers to anything preserved in a liquid that makes bacterial growth difficult. For fruit, that could be a sugar syrup, and for vegetables, a neutral vegetable oil like grapeseed or the subtle yet complex, fruity flavor of olive oil.
As far as complexity goes, this sweet potato confit couldn’t be easier. The low and slow technique of thick sweet potato rounds in olive oil results in rich, melt-in-your-mouth medallions that will stun guests at your next dinner.
I serve the sweet potatoes with a rich, syrupy pomegranate maple sauce. The pomegranate juice adds a nice tang, while the maple gives you a nice balanced sweetness. Of course, you can use cranberry juice instead. You could also mix cranberry juice and orange juice if you like. You can really use any juice that has a bit of tartness to it. Tart cherry juice would be delicious. Depending on the tartness, you may need to add a bit more maple syrup. Just taste and season.
How to make sweet potato confit:
If you’re looking for a last-minute dish to throw on the table, this sweet potato side dish is what you want. Even if you don’t have time to make the butter sauce, the sweet potatoes on their own are just divine. You can also drizzle with just a touch of maple syrup right before serving or scatter pecans on top.
What you need
- Sweet potatoes: I find sweet potatoes are the easiest thing to work with for this. But you can use peeled and cubed butternut squash. Or, you can halve and deseed a delicata squash, cut it into half-moons, and use that instead. That would be just delicious! Now, I go with medallions because they require the least amount of work. You can absolutely cube the potatoes if you like instead.
- Olive oil: You will need quite a bit of olive oil. If you don’t have olive oil, use a neutral oil like vegetable, canola, or avocado. The good news? You don’t need to throw the oil away! I will strain it through a sieve and transfer it to an air-tight container. It’ll last a few weeks in the refrigerator. You can use it for sautéing or even as a finishing oil for soups, stews, or roasted poultry or vegetables. It’ll be infused with herbs and have a nice flavor.
- Aromatics: I use sage leaves and a few thyme sprigs. If you have some lying around, you can also throw in a few rosemary sprigs. I also throw in a sliced shallot, but you can use sliced leeks or half of a yellow onion.
How to make it
- Step 1: Arrange the sweet potato medallions in a baking dish. Avoid overlap as much as possible and use two dishes, if needed. Scatter the aromatics and herbs on top and add a pinch of salt. Cover with oil. It’s okay if the tops of some sweet potatoes are exposed; just try to avoid it if possible.
- Step 2: Throw the whole pan in the oven for a little over an hour.
- Step 4: Use a fork or slotted spoon to carefully remove the sweet potato medallions from the baking dish. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off some excess oil. I pluck out a few sage leaves to arrange on top for serving.
The pomegranate maple butter sauce
As the potatoes finish baking, you’ll make a little pot of pomegranate maple butter sauce. It’s not as complicated as it sounds! Here’s what you need:
- Pomegranate juice: I love the vibrant, tart flavors of pomegranate juice. You can also use tart cherry juice, cranberry juice, or even orange juice. Just modify the amount of maple syrup depending on the sugar content of the juice you choose to use.
- Maple syrup: You can use honey or brown sugar instead.
- Cold butter: I mount it into the sauce to give it a luxurious finish and rich flavor.
- Cornstarch: Previously, I used agar to thicken the sauce, but through testing, I’ve found I prefer cornstarch.
To make it, simply simmer maple syrup and pomegranate juice together for a few minutes. From there, you’ll make a slurry with the sauce in the saucepan and cornstarch. Before adding the cornstarch slurry back to the sauce, mount cold, cubed butter into the sauce and whisk until combined. Finish the sauce by whisking the slurry into the sauce and simmering until thick and glossy.
You can make the sauce the night before and reheat it in a saucepan. Just add water or more pomegranate juice to thin it out a bit.
How to serve the sweet potato confit
Arrange the sweet potato medallions on a serving platter. I love oval platters for this. Arrange them in overlapping layers and scatter a few of the cooked sage leaves on top. Drizzle with a few spoonfuls of the pomegranate sauce on top. You can also finish with a few crushed nuts–pecans, walnuts, or pistachios would be nice–and a bit of lemon zest would add a nice brightness.
Sweet Potato Confit
- 9×13 Baking Dish
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes scrubbed and cut into 1” thick rounds
- 8-10 sage leaves
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 large shallot, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
- Olive oil
- ½ cup pomegranate juice, or use cranberry juice
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Salt to taste
Prepare the sweet potatoes:
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Arrange sweet potatoes, shallots, thyme, and sage in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Avoid overlapping the sweet potatoes too much. Sprinkle with a pinch salt and pour olive oil over top until mostly submerged. It’s okay if some sweet potatoes are exposed, but they should be mostly covered.
Bake the sweet potatoes:
- Transfer the baking dish to the oven. Bake uncovered for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft. Remove from the oven.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the sweet potatoes and shallots from the dish and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate. Pick the sage leaves from the oil and add them to the plate with the sweet potatoes. Discard any remaining herbs in the oil. See note.
Prepare the pomegranate maple butter sauce:
- Combine pomegranate juice and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce into a small bowl. Add the cornstarch and whisk until a slurry forms. Set aside.
- Mount the cold butter into the saucepan. Whisk until glossy and combined. Simmer for 2–3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue simmering until thick, 2–3 minutes more. Turn off the heat.
- Transfer the sweet potatoes to a serving platter. Arrange the cooked sage leaves and cooked shallots on top. Drizzle the pomegranate sauce on top. If you like, finish with a teaspoon or two of the confit oil on top. Enjoy!