Sweet Potato Puree with Crunchy Bacon Topping

Crème fraîche lends a slight tangy flavor to this sweet potato puree. A topping of crispy bacon mixed with panko crumbs provides savory crunch to each creamy bite. Pair the side dish with roasted poultry or pork loin.

4 lb. sweet potatoes (orange), unpeeled (4 large)*
4 slices thick-cut bacon
1 cup panko**
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup crème fraîche***
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Pierce sweet potatoes in several places with fork; place on baking sheet. Bake 1 hour or until tender. Cool 15 minutes or until warm but easy to handle. Reduce oven temperature to 375ºF.

2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat 5 to 8 minutes or until browned and crisp, turning once. Drain on paper towels; reserve 1 tablespoon of the drippings. Crumble bacon into small bowl; stir in panko, reserved drippings and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.

3. Halve sweet potatoes, spoon pulp into food processor; discard skin. Add butter, crème fraîche, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; pulse until smooth. Spoon into 1 1/2- to 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. (Sweet potatoes can be prepared to this point 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.) Sprinkle with bacon topping.

4 Bake at 375ºF. 20 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is hot.

8 (3/4-cup) servings

PER SERVING: 345 calories, 18.5 g total fat (10.5 g saturated fat), 6 g protein, 39.5 g carbohydrate, 45 mg cholesterol, 620 mg sodium, 5 g fiber

TIPS *Look for deep orange-colored sweet potatoes, often labeled as yams.
**Panko are coarse bread crumbs usually found next to other bread crumbs in the supermarket.
***Crème fraîche is a slightly tangy, thickened cream. It can be found in the dairy section of many supermarkets.

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