One of the most popular vegetables in South Louisiana, where traditional recipes are handed down from generation to generation, is Louisiana Yams. Sweet Daddy D's Creole Sweet Potatoes with Cane Syrup not only spotlights Louisiana Yams but features two other Louisiana food stars, Louisiana Cane Syrup and Louisiana Pecans. It's roasted sweet potatoes in a gooey, sticky butter sauce sweetened with Cane Syrup and brown sugar and the perfect texture of chopped Louisiana pecans. Simple, no-angst, and deeply delicious.
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Sweet potatoes, designated as the Official State Vegetable of Louisiana in 2003, were introduced to French settlers in 1720 by Native Americans. By the early 1900s, sweet potatoes were a viable cash crop in Louisiana, gaining ground after some bad cotton harvests. In a deliberate effort to differentiate Louisana’s offering from sweet potatoes grown on the East Coast, the term “Yam” was adopted in 1937 and became the unofficial trademark of Louisiana Sweet Potatoes. The LSU AgCenter continuously researches Louisana Yams and has introduced the Beauregard and Evangeline varieties for heartier and sweeter yams. In 2003, Yam contributed $151 Million to the Louisiana economy and continues to provide over 20% of the sweet potato crop in the United States. Are you becoming a Louisana Yam nerd? Here's an interesting publication to tell you more than you need to know about Yams.
What makes this recipe so easy?
This is about as close to set-it-and-forget-it as you can get without a crock pot. Simply peel and slice the raw sweet potatoes and roast them for an hour. Mix up the simple sauce, simmer for a couple of minutes, then pour it over the roasted sweet potatoes. Back in the oven for about 30 - 45 minutes and that's it! Pretty simple.
Here’s What You Need
Here are some of the key ingredients for this recipe:
Note: This recipe is better with Steen's Cane Syrup and Bergeron Louisiana Pecans. Also, look in your grocery store for Louisiana Yams, but if you can't find those, you can use whatever sweet potato the store carries.
Note: You can substitute light brown sugar for dark brown sugar.
Here is some of the equipment I used to prepare this recipe:
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Here’s What You Do
First…you have a beer. How do you make an easy recipe even easier? Preparation. Prepare the cook and prepare the ingredients. Get in the right frame of mind by sipping a beer while you read the recipe all the way through. Make sure you have the ingredients and equipment you'll need and learn what to do with each. Perform your mise en place to prepare all the ingredients and have them ready to go before you even start to cook.
Mise en place
Prepare a 9" X 13" or 8" X 12" glass baking dish by smearing softened butter all over the inside.
Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into medallions about ¼ inch thick and stack the sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish at an angle.
Measure all the other ingredients and set them aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake the Sweet Potatoes
What happens in this step? We start by roasting the yams with just a little salt and butter and a touch of orange juice to add some moisture. This softens the yams so that they will better absorb the cane syrup sauce without overcooking it.
The sweet potato medallions should be stacked in the prepared baking dish at an angle. Pour the orange juice over the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with some kosher salt and top with about 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place in the 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 hour.
Make the Sauce
What happens in this step? If the Louisiana yams are the heart of this recipe, the sweet and gooey sauce is the soul. This sauce is what makes this dish special. Sweet and tangy Louisiana Cane Syrup, tons of butter, and the crunch of Louisiana pecans.
Reserve ¼ cup of the chopped pecans and set it aside. These will be used to top the sweet potatoes.
Combine all the remaining sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer and maintain the simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside. When the sweet potatoes are soft, we'll pour this sauce over them to finish baking.
Pro Tip: The high sugar content of the sauce will cause it to boil over very quickly. Keep the heat on medium and watch constantly until it has simmered for a couple of minutes.
Add the sauce to the yams
What happens in this step? The yams are soft now, so we add the deliciously;y gooey sauce made with cane syrup, butter, and brown sugar. The Louisiana pecans add just the right range of texture for a heartwarming experience.
Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and test for doneness with a bamboo skewer.
Pro Tip: The potatoes are done roasting when the probe gets very little or no resistance when probed. We don't want the potatoes to be so mushy that they fall apart, but we want them very soft.
Pro Tip: I use a bamboo skewer as you would use for a small shishkabob. These are inexpensive and easy to use and dispose of. If you don't have those, use an ice pick, a fork, or even a thin knife.
When the potatoes are done, pour the sauce completely over all the sweet potatoes. It can cover the yams but that is not necessary. Top the sweet potatoes and sauce with the remaining ¼ cup of chopped pecans.
Return the baking dish to the oven. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Allow the baking dish to sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
Hints and Tips (FAQs)
Yes. Let the dish cool to room temperature, then store it in an airtight container. The best quality will be maintained for up to one month. The butter and cane syrup will solidify but will reheat well. Defrost in the fridge for 24 hours, then reheat in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven, covered in aluminum foil until warmed through, about 30 minutes. You can keep leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days, then reheat them in the oven, stovetop, or microwave.
Yes, Louisiana Yams are high in beta carotene, rich in Vitamins A, B6, and C, and a good source of fiber and potassium. They are naturally low in sodium and saturated fat. Need to know more? Check out this short article for more about sweet potato's nutritional facts.
Actually, there is a Sweet Potato and there is a Yam and they are different things. Among the differences, Sweet Potatoes grown in the US have smooth, orangeish skin and flesh. Yams originated in the tropical regions of Africa and Asia, and have rough skin, whitish flesh, and a neutral flavor. But the fact that they are not the same thing doesn't really matter in Louisiana, where sweet potatoes and yams are the same things. In a deliberate effort to differentiate Louisana’s offering from sweet potatoes grown on the East Coast, the term “Yam” was adopted in 1937 and became the unofficial trademark of Louisiana Sweet Potatoes.
Try these other amazing sides from Sweet Daddy D:
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Creole Sweet Potatoes with Cane Syrup and Pecans
Here's What You Need
- 3 pounds Sweet Potatoes
- ½ cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup chopped pecans divided
- 1 cup cane syrup
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Here's What You Do
- Peel and slice sweet potatoes into medallions about ¼ inch thick.
- Prepare a glass baking dish with softened butter
- Stack sweet potato medallions on the baking dish at an angle
- Pour orange juice over the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle some kosher salt and top with pieces of butter.
- Cover with aluminum foil and place in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 hour.
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan (reserve ¼ cup of pecans for the top).
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and maintain the simmer for 2 minutes, set aside.
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and test for doneness with a bamboo skewer, See Notes.
- Pour the sauce completely over all the sweet potatoes. It can cover the yams but that is not necessary.
- Top with the remaining ¼ cup of chopped pecans.
- Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and return it to the oven. Roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.