Eilene’s friends are coming over again for Game of Thrones and this week’s theme is “marshmallows.” [Teenagers—what can I say.] Eilene has requested sweet potato casserole.
My mother, Claudia, would make this dish every year for Thanksgiving. This was not, however, one of the recipes than any of us children wrote down. I do remember that she did it by slicing the potatoes and putting them in a casserole raw. She then poured in a sauce and finally add the marshmallows at the end of the cooking time.
Americans get very confused when dealing with sweet potatoes and yams. In most stores in the U.S. and Canada the vegetables labeled as a “yam” is actually a sweet potato. I am using Jewel “yams,” which are really orange fleshed sweet potatoes.
Looking on-line, I found hundreds of recipes, all the same. Most of them called for starting with caned yams or pre-boiling the sweet potatoes. I avoid using canned food when I can and using extra pots seems excessive. The one thing I really remember about my mother’s recipe was that it was no muss, no fuss; chop, pour, and move on to the next dish while it baked.
I recall her using orange juice as the cooking liquid. I don’t have any at the moment, so I am going to substitute white grape juice. One recipe I found called for baking the yams in a lot of water and then pouring off the excess. This seems like a recipe for disaster, or at least a bad burn. Just a bit of liquid should steam the potatoes in the pan.
I don’t think that brown sugar, the usual sweetener in this type of recipe, goes all that well with grape juice. I will use my orange infused sugar instead. I will also be using much less sugar than many recipes call for, one cup of sugar really does make it “candied” yams, not a vegetable dish.
Looking on-line for spice parings, for sweet potato and white grape juice, the usual suspects come up: allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla. Looking at my spice cabinet I started to think outside the box. I noticed Chinese five spice (star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds). In Chinese cooking this spice blend is frequently paired with ginger.
This will not be my mother’s casserole. It is the essence of California Fusion cuisine. Borrowing bits from different countries to create something new and different, but (hopefully) just as tasty. To go with this side dish, I am planning to make turkey meatballs as the main dish.
Karl’s Asian Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallow Topping
3 lb. jewel yams
½ cup white grape juice
¼ cup Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar
1 Tbs. Chinese five spice powder
2 tsp. Ginger, powdered
2 cup mini marshmallows
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
2. Peel and slice the yams into ¼ inch slices.
3. Spray Pam over the bottom and sides of the casserole and put in the slices of potato.
Tip: Slightly overlap each slice of potato, starting at the outer edge and work your way into the center. When you are finished you should have a decorative spiral of potatoes slices in the dish.
4. Sprinkle the grape juice over the potatoes.
5. Sprinkle the sugar and spices evenly over the potatoes.
6. Cover the casserole and bake for 45 minutes, until a knife slips easily into the potatoes.
Tip: If your casserole does not have a lid, cover it tightly with aluminum foil.
7. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the casserole and continue baking, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, until the marshmallows have begun to melt and brown.
Tip: You may also use large marshmallows, if you wish, but do not let the marshmallows melt completely or start to burn. A moments inattention at the very end and the marshmallows go from golden brown to burnt in seconds.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm in the casserole.