How to Cook Yams

Candied-yams

Photo credit: http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/candied-yams/

I love yams, especially in the autumn. They are such a diverse swede that you can pair them with just about any kind of dish. You can bake them, fry them, boil them, blanche them, poach them, do just about anything with them. They go with poultry, pork, seafood and beef. Here are the ways I cook my yams and what foods I serve them with. I can promise you one thing; you will want to try each and every recipe!

*Remember, yams and sweet potatoes are two different foods. They look similar but are not the same swede. They do have two different names for a reason.

Candied Yams

This is my favorite way to eat yams. I usually make this dish at Thanksgiving or Christmas (depending on which country I am living in). Candied yams are a great side dish for your turkey so best serve them at a large gathering.

candied yams

Photo credit: http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/candied-yams/

Ingredients:

  • 6 Yams – I try to make them all different shapes and sizes
  • 2 cups of sugar – 1 cup white and 1 cup brown
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup Irish butter – Kerry gold is my favorite brand
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • A dash of salt, but only if you used no salt butter

What you need:

  • A large skillet or frying pan
  • A spatula or wooden spoon
  • Hungry friends and family

How to prepare:

This is super easy to make, and super easy to clean up. Just follow these easy instructions and you will notice that it is just as easy to make it as it is to clean it up. Make sure you enjoy it first, though!

  • Peel and cut up the yams. I like to make them into cubes so they cook faster. They can be quite difficult to cut, so that is why you do this step first.
  • Next take your large skillet or frying pan and melt the butter. Make sure it is melted prior to starting the next step.
  • Once butter is melted, add the diced up yams to the melted butter. After that add the spices.
  • Once spices are added, cover the skillet and turn down the heat. You should let the yams simmer for about an hour. Make sure the yams do not burn – just pop the lid open every once in a while, and stir the yams around.
  • When the yams are crystalized and darkened from the sauce, they should be tender and crisp around the edges. Once they are like this, then you can add the vanilla and stir until it is spread evenly.
  • Now you can serve your candied yams.

What to eat candied yams with:

  • It is not Thanksgiving or Christmas without the big turkey dinner. I always have to have candied yams at my table. They go great with the other vegetables and they add a bit of sweet to the savory items that are already on the table.
  • Since we have turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas, we typically have a large ham dinner at Easter. You can always have candied yams with your Easter dinner. The ham has a smoky taste that pairs well with the sweetness of the candied yams. Plus, it is a good way to get the kids to have something on the sweet side that is not candy.
  • Roast beef. Why not? Sometimes a big roast dinner with Yorkshire puddings goes great with some American candied yams. I would bring things to my British friends if they were having a roast dinner on Sundays. They never complained and were always finished first.
  • Roast chicken. Same idea, but different meat. With the savory of the chicken, the yams sweetness balanced them out.
  • Pork loin. This is my favorite combination, except for turkey at Thanksgiving. There is something about pork and yams that go great together. Especially when you add some apples to it. The dish becomes so fragrant with taste!
recipe-grilled-pork-glazed-apples-yam-mash

Photo credit: http://www.delish.com/cooking/g178/yam-recipes/

Other versions:

  • Some people enjoy baking their candied yams. After they prepare them in the skillet, they will put them in a casserole dish and put large marshmallows on top. The marshmallows begin to caramelize on top and look like s’mores.
  • Instead of cooking it in a skillet, some will halfway through transfer the candied yams and sauce into a casserole dish and finish cooking them in the oven. You do not need to put marshmallows on top if you do not wish. I know I prefer my candied yams without marshmallow. I will sometimes add extra brown sugar just so it has more of a caramelized taste to it.
  • You can reduce the sugar you use as well. Sometimes just using a cup and a half will suffice. Always mix the white and brown sugar!

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