Fresh Ginger-Roasted Yams
I love yams. Not the goopy, syrupy yam sludge that is an unfortunate mainstay of American Thanksgiving meals. But real yams, cooked in a healthy and appealing way.
Well, what makes a “real” is a subject of much debate. Is it a yam? Or a sweet potato? My favorite is a Red Garnet, which I guess is technically a sweet potato.
We eat yams year-round, and I have cooked them in just about every way imaginable. Often, I cube them and toss with LOTS of ground allspice, a teensy bit of brown sugar, salt and Earth Balance Soy-Free (which is the most buttery non-dairy “margarine” on the market, in my opinion). This is my 9 year old son Wesley’s favorite dish of all time. Recently, though, I made a dish that was a bit of an experiment. I was so tickled with the results that we will surely be seeing it on the Thanksgiving table, if not sooner.
One note about cooking temperatures: You can roast yams at just about ANY temperature. One reason I bake them so often is, no matter what the temperature at which my main dish is cooking, I can throw a casserole dish of yams right alongside of it, and the yams turn out fabulous. They are nigh impossible to burn or overcook, particularly if you’re using very little (or no) sugar. They can sit for hours in a warm oven and stay wonderful. If you are baking them (or warming them), don’t stir frequently, unless you want mashed yams! When I made the recipe below, I was roasting a turkey (another “holiday” dish we eat year-round) at 325°F, and cooking time for the yams ended up being about 90 minutes. However, you can roast yams at up to 450°F, which will likely decrease the baking time to about 40 minutes.
Generously serves 6-8
- 3 medium-large yams (about 4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2 – 3/4″ cubes –
- 1/4 cup butter, butter substitute, or olive oil
- 2″ section of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
- 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 325°F (or hotter — see note above).
Place cubed yams in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
In a microwave-safe small bowl, melt the butter. Drizzle the melted butter over the yams, and toss (or stir with a silicone spatula). Add the finely grated ginger root, brown sugar and sea salt and toss until the ginger is evenly distributed.
Place the yams in a 2-3 quart covered casserole dish and bake until tender, testing with a fork after one hour. Depending on the size of your casserole dish, the yams will be completely cooked in 60-90 minutes.
NOTE: After you have placed the yams into the casserole dish, resist the urge to stir. This dish produces roasted cubed yams, and if you stir, they will mash easily, especially after they are done or nearly done baking. When they are completely cooked, the yams will loose their cloudy appearance, and turn a deeper, more saturated color.