Sweet Potatoes Animal Style

submitted by Jon Beavers


Don’t think of this a recipe so much as a dare. Because, let’s get this straight, I’m no chef. Far from it. But, I love to eat. More than you, I’ll bet. And so this shelter-in-place period has meant it was time to get creative in the kitchen. And I’ve stumbled into some interesting dishes. But, there’s one flavor explosion I can’t get away from: The Loaded Yam. And the best thing is, you can’t really mess this up.
So go on… I dare you to bake a yam to perfection and then stuff it full of delicious meats and veggies and garlic and seasoning. Then I dare you to take a bite and tell me that didn’t push your freakin’ hair back.

Ingredients

  • Yams. Big ones, small ones, crooked ones. They’re all good by me!

  • Diced sausage or pancetta.

  • Zucchini.

  • Onion.

  • Garlic.

  • Any other veggies you like to sauté.

  • Fresh Chives

  • Olive Oil (or butter)

  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:


STEP ONE

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Wash and dry your yams.

  3. Drizzle the yams with olive oil and a generous dash of salt and then rub the oil and salt evenly over the skin. Use your hands. God knows you wash them enough.

  4. Cover a cooking sheet with aluminum foil and place the yams on top. These sweet suckers bleed sugary syrup everywhere so I’m saving you on clean up.

  5. Bake your yams for a minimum of 90 minutes but I’d recommend longer. They’re very forgiving, they only get better, and I’m yet to over-bake one. So, if you’re having them for lunch, toss ‘em in after breakfast. If they’re dinner, toss ‘em in after lunch. They’ll make your house smell great for hours.


STEP TWO

  1. When you’re about 20 min from a perfect bake on those magical orange bad boys, throw your diced meat in a hot non-stick pan. Pancetta is the sexiest choice here but I’d accept Polish Sausage or Spicy Links as well. Wanna do Tofu instead? Go right ahead, you creative genius you!

  2. Once the meat’s getting a little color, add your firm veggies (mushrooms, zucchini, etc) and season with salt and pepper. Add some butter or a drizzle of olive oil to get that sizzlin’.

  3. When those have some color, in go the lighter veggies (onion, bell pepper, etc.) and the finely chopped garlic. Sprinkle a pinch more salt.

  4. Sauté on medium heat until veggies are softened and garlic is fragrant.


STEP THREE

  1. Pull your yams out of the oven and slap ‘em on a plate.

  2. Cut those puppies open length-wise, right down the center. The skin should cut like crepe paper and the inside should open up like bright orange marshmallow butter from heaven.

  3. Speaking of butter, feel free to add some directly to the inside of the potato before we dump in the toppings. You may want to experiment with sprinkling some brown sugar as well. I’ll leave it up to you.

  4. Scoop in a healthy heap of sautéed filling.

  5. Top with diced chives just to really take it over the edge.

You could add a little green salad to the plate or just dice up a bit of cucumber and tomato and drizzle with oil and balsamic. Heck, you might have roasted some carrots along side these monsters. I don’t know how you quarantine! But what I do know is when you take your first bite of the salt and savory in that hearty filling mixed with the sweet fragrant comfort of that creamy yam, you’re gonna wanna thank me. But, let me just stop you right there and tell you this before you even bother: It was my pleasure ;)


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