From sweet to savory, these three recipes show the versatility of yams.
Brown Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows
Ingredients (serves 6)
4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces | 2/3 cup packed brown sugar | 5 tbsp. butter | 1 tsp. ground cinnamon | 1/2 tsp. salt | 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg | pinch of ground ginger |
2 cups marshmallows | 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange potatoes in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish.
Combine sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over potatoes; toss to coat. Cover dish tightly with foil.
Bake potatoes 50 minutes. Uncover; bake until potatoes are tender and syrup thickens slightly, basting occasionally, about 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 500°F. Top potatoes with marshmallows and nuts. Return to oven; bake until marshmallows begin to melt and nuts begin to brown, about 3 minutes. (Recipe from www.epicurious.com)
Not Too Spicy Yam Soup
Just enough kick to warm you up on a cold night
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil | 1 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced | 4 large yams |
2 cup water | 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth | 1 sweet red pepper
1 jalapeño or ½ tsp. hot red pepper flakes | Half a lemon or lime | 1 cup heavy cream
More salt (optional) | Fresh basil or cilantro leaves | Unsalted, roasted cashews
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, add the olive oil, then sauté onion until it starts to brown.
Peel sweet potatoes; slice crosswise; put in a heavy pot with chicken or vegetable broth; simmer until sweet potatoes are tender (20–30 minutes).
When sweet potatoes have become soft, add onions, their oil and pan scrapings, then put through a food mill or blender to make as velvety as possible. Return to the heavy pot and leave on simmer.
Chop sweet red pepper into small dice, mince jalapeño, and add those to the soup. Taste for balance, and add juice from lemon or lime (you can also add some zest from the skins). Then add up to a cup of heavy cream, after which you may need to add some more salt. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Sweet Potato-Chicken-Peanut Stew
A common and very luscious West African dish
Note: If you’re vegetarian, substitute firmly pressed tofu for the chicken (two 1-pound packages). You’ll probably need to increase all of the seasonings to bring up the flavor.
2 tablespoons of peanut oil
1 smallish yellow or white onion, chopped coarsely
1 small whole chicken, or 8 pieces, skin-on, bone-in for extra flavor, or two 1-pound packages
of tofu, firmly pressed before use
½–1 teaspoon of kosher salt
black pepper, to taste
2/3 cup of finely chopped peanuts or chunky peanut butter
1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock or broth
Another 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock or broth
2 cloves of garlic, skinned and finely chopped
1 medium dried hot pepper or ¼ teaspoon of hot red pepper flakes
2 medium raw sweet potatoes, skinned, sliced once lengthwise and four times crosswise
3 canned tomatoes, mashed (for vegetarian version)
¾ pound of greens (spinach, kale, chard, collard), sliced crosswise into thin ribbons
2 tablespoons of lemon juice or clean-flavored vinegar
Tabasco sauce (optional)
1. Heat a large, heavy pot on MEDIUM, then add oil, and when it shimmers, add onions and cook until they brown and become transparent (about 10 minutes).
2. In the meantime, season chicken pieces lightly with salt and pepper. Add them to the onions, stir in, and cook on both sides until they are browned (about 6–7 minutes).
3. Combine peanuts or peanut butter and 1 cup of chicken stock or broth until the mixture is smooth; then add the other 2 cups of stock.
4. Mince the garlic and red pepper until it’s almost a paste, or grind them in a mortar. Stir into the chicken stock.
5. Add stock to the pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to SIMMER and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
6. Add sweet potatoes to pot. Bring back to boil, then lower heat again to SIMMER, and cook, partly covered, until sweet potatoes are tender (about 15–18 minutes).
7. Add greens and stir in, until they wilt but are still bright green (less than 2 minutes). Season with more salt, pepper, lemon juice, and pepper sauce, if desired.
Like all soups and stews, this grows tastier by the day. (Adapted from Barbara Kafka’s Soup: A Way of Life (1998) and several in African News Cookbook (1986).)