The second in our series "Food and Wine Pairings for Thanksgiving: The Ultimate Guide from TMG’s Own Claude Von Krappe"
Transcript of our local-access cable TV episode with Claude VK:
Side dish #3: Sweet Potato Casserole
I know, I know, you had it as a kid. The mini marshmallows are mandatory, only canned yams will do… I’ve heard it all before. As they say, “You can take the gal out of the trailer park….”
Fortunately for you, Mad Men has made retro food and drink suddenly fashionable, so you can appease the low-brow relatives and the hipster connoisseurs at the same time. As much as I hate to admit it, this dish does deserve a second look—and a taste test. The entire staff of TMG sampled this mystifying tuber mélange in the “test kitchen” lunchroom.
Deceptively simple at first glance, the casserole becomes more nuanced and complex as you dig in, the serving spoon gliding though layers of starchy vegetal sludge and gluey goodness and swirling through the odd candied pecan or cranberry until you reach true bliss at the top.
Given the high butter-fat content of the dish, you could pair it with something equally complex yet clean, like a brisk, flinty Chardonnay. Our house white at the Institute of Chardonnay Studies is quite nice, with a flavor profile of grapefruit, pear, patchouli and a puckery finish that smacks of Purell. It’s like chasing crème brulee with a shot of aquavit, or licking a granite countertop.
Personally, I would splash out with a rich, creamy, bodacious California Chardonnay, like a ‘92 Clos du Chump. The toasty, nutty accents blend beautifully with the carmelized corn syrup and dextrose crust atop the molten marshmallows in the casserole. With just a hint of clove and decaying fruit, it’s like dipping a Fig Newton into a mug of Swiss Miss.
We also have a lower priced blend a colleague once described as “vanilla Yankee Candle dipped in movie-plex popcorn butter.” I think that’s unfair, but it’s far superior to Two Buck Chuck and perfectly fine as a back-up bottle for guests who’ve outstayed their welcome.
—reported by TMG police reporter and food + wine columnist Agent SS