And then there is orange. I can't remember a Thanksgiving without a vibrant dish of garnet yams (a.k.a. sweet potatoes).
We've since adjusted the recipe a bit, removing the flour from the topping and replacing it with ground pecans for our gluten-intolerant family members.
I've also added a little orange zest to add a little balance to the sweetness of the dish. You could also add a dash of lemon juice for the same purpose.
Smothering yams this way, in brown sugar and maple syrup, almost turns this dish into a dessert—not for everyday perhaps, but just the thing for a holiday treat.
Maple-Glazed Yams with Pecan Topping
- 3 pounds of yams (red-fleshed sweet potatoes), peeled, cut into 1/4 inch-thick rounds
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 6 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (divided 2 Tbsp and 4 Tbsp)
- 1 1/2 cups pecans, divided (3/4 cup and 3/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
Preheat the oven to 400°F
Cook yams in boiling water
Heat a large pot of salted water (add a tablespoon of salt for every two quarts of water) until boiling. Add the yam rounds. Cook the yams until the water starts to simmer again, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, then rinse in cold water.
Layer yam rounds in baking dish, with butter, zest, maple syrup
Butter a baking dish. Arrange the yam rounds in the baking dish, overlapping the pieces, layering the yam rounds to fill up the dish.
Sprinkle each layer liberally with salt. Sprinkle the yam rounds with orange zest if using. Pour maple syrup over yams. Dot with 2 Tbsp of the butter.
Bake 20 min
Cover with aluminum foil and bake until yams are almost tender, about 20 minutes.
Make pecan topping
While the yams are baking put 3/4 cup pecans in a blender or spice grinder and grind into a coarse meal. Coarsely chop the other 3/4 cup of pecans.
Mix the ground pecans and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, mix in the remaining 4 Tbsp of butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in the chopped pecans.
Sprinkle topping over yams, bake 15 min more
Sprinkle the pecan mixture over the yams. Bake the yams, uncovered, until the topping browns, about 15 minutes.