November 18, 2013

Traditional, Homemade Thanksgiving Dinner - Installment #5: Candied Yams

Candied yams get two responses at my house - "Another helping please!" And "Keep that stuff away from my plate!"  I'm not kidding.  Either you love it or you hate it.  I'm in the love it camp.  In fact, I like there to be extras so I can have it for breakfast the next morning ... followed by a slice of pie.  This recipe is for about 8 side-dish-sized servings.  You can always substitute sweet potatoes for yams.

Candied Yams
3 lbs yams, peeled and cubed
1 apple
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup real maple syrup
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a large pot, bring salted water to boil.  Add yams and simmer 15 minutes.  Drain.  Meanwhile, peel and chop the apple.  Mix the apple with all the remaining ingredients.  Add the yams and mix using a fork to gently mash up some of the yams.  Leave it pretty lumpy.  Scoop into a greased casserole dish and bake at 375 F for 20 minutes.  You can make this (without the topping) a day ahead of time - the flavors actually get better after 24 hours of mingling.

Optional topping:  I think this dish is plenty sweet as it is.  Plus I don't like marshmallows, unless I'm charring them over an open flame and consuming with graham crackers and chocolate.  But if you love a marshmallow top then here are the rest of the ingredients and directions.  Add the topping the day of to make it look pretty.

1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tablespoons finely chopped pecans

Mix the flour, sugar, salt and butter with fingers.  After the yams have baked for 15 minutes, removed from oven and sprinkle with the marshmallows, flour/sugar/salt/butter mix and the pecans.  Put back in oven for 15 more minutes or until the topping is light golden brown.

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