One week from tomorrow and it will be Thanksgiving. Every year at Thanksgiving, someone volunteers to make their version of “Candied Yams” for our Thanksgiving Feast. In reality, what they are making are Candied Sweet Potatoes.
Just to set the record straight for those that are confused – the photo to the left are true “Yams”, the one to the right are Sweet Potatoes, sometimes called “Yams” by the color of their skin or flesh, but are in reality a variety of the Sweet Potato – not even in the same family as a yam. Some whole food markets in the US are beginning to carry the true “yams” but for the most part, what we eat in America are sweet potatoes. Why the confusion? Yams are common in places like Africa. When slaves saw sweet potatoes, they called them Yams, since the smaller tubular vegetable reminded them of a food from home. The name stuck for a very long time, especially in the south. And there’s your history lesson of the day!
Typically, the most popular dish is made with canned sweet potatoes in a syrup thickened with brown sugar and finished off with mini-marshmallows that are toasted in the oven. My take on candied sweet potatoes involves a Kahlúa-Pineapple “glaze” and not a hint of mini marshmallow in the room. The recipe came from a cookbook put out by Kahlúa in 1986. While we lived in Nevada, I made the sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving every year. Since returning to California, I haven’t made this dish – other members of our extended family eagerly volunteer each year to bring the sweet potatoes. While obviously a favorite since everyone wants to make them, Candied sweet potatoes are one of those dishes that seem to make an appearance but once a year. It’s been 5 years since I last made my sweet potatoes (hence no picture – sorry folks) and I miss them. This year, in addition to the appetizers, stuffing and desserts, I might have to insist I make the sweet potatoes. (And I know what you are thinking – if I like them so well, why don’t I make them at times other than Thanksgiving? The answer is simple – Hubby and Kiddo won’t eat sweet potato anything, so it would be a side for one. Hum, that got me to thinking, maybe the cooks who eagerly volunteer each don’t get to eat theirs otherwise – living as I do in a house of non-sweet potato eaters.)
Just in case I get out-voted – I hope someone out there takes this recipe and runs with it. When you do, have an extra bite for me!!
Kahlúa-Pineapple Candied Sweet Potatoes
4 or 5 Sweet Potatoes, cooked
¼ Cup Butter
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar, firmly packed
¼ Cup Kahlúa
1 Can Pineapple Chunks
Place Sweet Potatoes in a large pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil and continue to cook at a rolling boil until Sweet Potatoes are tender but firm. Remove from pan, cool slightly. Peel and cut Sweet Potatoes into serving-size pieces.
In a heavy skillet, melt butter with sugar. Add Kahlúa and cook 1 minute. Add Sweet Potatoes, turning until brown on all sides. Drain pineapple. Add to skillet. Cover, reduce heat and cook about 15 minutes. Turn Sweet Potatoes once more before serving.
Happy eating!!! And don’t forget . . . if you “like” what you see, let me know. If you have something to share, please do so.