I have always taken a dim view of liquid smoke. As Jerry Seinfeld might ask, “Is it smoke or is it liquid?” But if your grill is buried under a snowfall and you crave the flavor of smoke, liquid smoke will suffice until you can get back outside.
Several brands of liquid smoke are sold; some contain only water and natural smoke flavor from a specific wood, such as hickory or pecan. Other brands might contain different flavorings. Check the label.
Sweet potatoes work well with liquid smoke because they take on the distinctive flavor without being overwhelmed by it.
Make Ahead: The sauce mixture can be assembled and cooked earlier in the day; keep it in a sealed container at room temperature until ready to use.
Servings: 4 - 6
- 2 (about 1 1/4 pounds) navel oranges
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke, either hickory- or pecan-smoked
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- 1/2 cup orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
- 3 medium (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) sweet potatoes, preferably of equal size
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use nonstick cooking oil spray to grease an 8-inch square or round baking dish that is more than 2 inches deep.
Peel the oranges, removing as much pith as possible. Cut each orange in half from top to bottom, placing the halves cut side down on a cutting board. Then cut the halves into half-moon slices about 1/8 inch thick.
Combine the butter, brown sugar, brandy, liquid smoke, salt, chipotle powder and orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, to form a thin syrup. Turn off the heat.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, saving the tapered end pieces for filling any holes in the assembled dish. As you layer the dish, you might need to cut some of the potato rounds into halves and quarters to make for nice layers.
Arrange a single layer of sweet potato slices in the bottom of the baking dish. At approximately equal intervals, place 6 of the orange slices atop the potatoes. Spoon some of the melted butter mixture evenly over the oranges, then repeat with more layers of sweet potato slices and oranges, using all of the butter mixture and ending with a coating of the butter mixture on top.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil; bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Some parts of the top layer will be blackened; that’s good for both color and flavor.
The top layer might be dry, so gently toss the potatoes and oranges together before serving.
Adapted by Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin from a recipe on the Colgin Liquid Smoke Web site (www.colgin.com).
Tested by Becky Krystal.
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