Serves 8 for 'regular' servings, 16 at Thanksgiving

  • 2 pounds red-skinned yams (or sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into large roughly same-size pieces
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar (this is half what the recipe specified but plenty)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (ditto)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Zest and juice of a lemon (don't skip this!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (don't skip this!)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
    cooking liquid
    about 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    about 1/2 cup half & half


Combine the yams, water, sugar, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, lemon and vanilla and bring to a boil. Cover and let cook for about 30 minutes -- no al dente toothsome yams here, the softer on the edges, the better. Uncover and keep cooking for about 10 minutes, hoping that the liquid doesn't cook away because otherwise there'll be no sauce. Add the butter and let melt, cooking another 10 minutes or so. If, praise the Cajun gods, there's liquid left, scoop out the yams into a serving dish (preferably warmed, if you want the yams to stay hot) and cover with foil. Keep warm!

Sprinkle the cornstarch over the cooking liquid and whisk til smooth. (Or if this worries you, or if you have a history of making lumpy gravy, put the cornstarch in a small bowl and add a drop or two of the liquid, stir to make a smooth slurry. Add a few more drops and stir. Repeat til the mixture is liquid enough to whisk into the big pot of cooking liquid without getting lumpy. Let cook a minute or two - taste to make sure the starchy flavor is gone. Don't taste it all, save it for the sauce! Stir in cream to taste; that means, when it tastes good, it's ready to pour on top of the yams. Gobble 'em up.



Copyright © July 3, 2008