This recipe is an easy take on baked yams. The yams are boiled first, then filled with a little butter and maple syrup. After the yams are individually wrapped in foil, they are baked until caramelized and juicy. You can eat them plain, with brown sugar-flavored butter, salt and pepper or a sprinkle of toasted sliced almonds.
Yams are a staple on everyone’s Thanksgiving menu, but not everyone likes the sweetness of candied yams. This is a great alternative that is much more savory. An added bonus is that the yams can be prepared in advance in the morning and warmed just before serving (in the microwave or in a steamer). If you do as much cooking as I do on Thanksgiving, that alone is reason to consider this dish.
Servings: 8 servings
2 tablespoons butter, sliced paper-thin
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Wash the yams and place them whole in a pot (no need to peel them). Add cold water until the yams are barely covered. It's important to start with cold water so the yams cook evenly. Bring to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt and reduce the heat to medium-high (if you cook the yams at a roaring boil, they might fall apart). As soon as the water reaches a boil, cook for about 12 minutes. Test, using a fork; the yams should be slightly tender but still firm (not fully cooked). Remove from the pot. Immediately drain the yams thoroughly and let them cool a little (do not rinse). Once the yams are cool enough to handle and have dried completely, cut them into halves (or thirds, depending on their size).
Using a paring knife, create a 2"-slit in half, horizontally, making sure you don't cut all the way through the base so all of both parts remain attached. Place a yam in a piece of aluminum foil, insert a thin slice of butter into the incision and drizzle with maple syrup.
Tightly, wrap the yams individually in aluminum foil (for easy clean-up), making sure to leave an opening towards the tip of the yam, and place all the yams onto a baking pan.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F, then lower the heat to 375°F and continue baking for 20 minutes. Allow to rest a little.
The yams should be fork-tender.
Each person unwraps a yam, adds his or her own additional ingredients (salt and pepper, brown sugar, butter or toasted sliced almonds), scrapes the flesh and discards the skin.
I used maple syrup. If you don't have any, you could replace it with molasses, light corn syrup or dark honey.
For a vegan version, you can substitute vegetable-based margarine for butter.
If you have more time available, try out my candied yam recipe with marshmallows.
I estimated 8 yams for 8 people but my family eats probably 10-12 yams.