Monday, February 28, 2011

Cranberry-Scented Yams

Cranberry-Scented Yams
What is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams? I always thought yams were orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, but apparently it's only us Americans who use that distinction. Throughout the rest of the word, yams are really tropical tubers that are often bland and dry. So, while I've titled this recipe "Cranberry-Scented Yams", they are technically sweet potatoes. Hopefully you'll forgive me for any confusion.

The inspiration for this dish came from several sources, the most prominent of which was the remains of a bag of frozen cranberries that were loitering in the freezer, left over from our Cornish Hens (and Tofu) with Cranberry Paste. Yams and Cranberries go together beautifully (the sweetness of the yams is a nice contrast to the cranberries' tartness) so I just needed to figure out how I wanted to combine them.

To me, the easiest way to make yams is to bake them, then puree them with a liquid (usually melted butter). However, when I made Roasted Yam Puree with Brown Butter, the vegetarian found it too rich (such a thing exists?) for his tastes. So butter was out. But why not use cranberry juice instead? So I pureed the cranberries (of course this required buying more, so there are still cranberries in the freezer) with water and a little sugar, then simmered them. Finally, to make it a little more interesting, I infused the cranberry liquid with some jasmine green tea. Enjoy!

Cranberry-Scented Yams
Inspired by Eat Tea

Preheat oven to 400F. Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil and place yams on top. Bake until completely tender, about 45 minutes.

Simmering Cranberries
In a food processor, blend cranberries, water and brown sugar until for several minutes, until consistency closely resembles juice. (There will still be chunks of cranberry skin; don't worry, we'll strain those out later.) Bring cranberry mixture to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in tea leaves. Let infuse 5 minutes.

When yams are cooked, allow to rest until cool enough to touch. Then remove skins, cut into quarters and transfer to food processor. Process until smooth. Strain cranberry mixture into yams (pressing against the strainer pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Add salt and pulse a few more times so everything is combined. Serve, garnished with reserved whole cranberries. 

Links to other cranberry scented noshes:

1 comment:

Chef Gwen said...

With a puree that looks that delicious, I think we can forgive you for calling them yams. Nice post!