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Where EAST meets the Northwest


TIMESAVING & TASTY TATERS. Glazed spicy sweet potatoes are prepared in a skillet in Concord, New Hampshire. No room in the oven? You can cook these delicious sweet potatoes on top of the stove in about 10 minutes flat. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

From The Asian Reporter, V25, #24 (December 21, 2015), page 10.

No room in the oven for sweet potatoes? Take them topside!

By Sara Moulton

The Associated Press

One of the biggest challenges of producing a holiday meal is figuring out how to cook all the various dishes and land them all on the table at the same thrilling moment.

Itís not easy, especially when thereís a big roast of some kind hogging the oven for hours. The part that annoys me most? It forces my glazed sweet potatoes, which require 45 minutes in the oven, to sit on the sidelines. Well, not anymore. You can cook these delicious glazed sweet potatoes on top of the stove in about 10 minutes flat.

But letís talk about the sweet potato before tackling the method.

These days, thereís usually quite a selection of sweet potatoes at the supermarket, many of which are mistakenly called yams. True yams are indigenous to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. They are mild in flavor and starchy. How they became confused with sweet potatoes is a long story, but suffice it to say that if youíre at the supermarket in search of a sweet potato that is indeed sweet, youíll probably be all right whether itís labelled sweet potato or yam.

As noted, one of the great things about this recipe is that the potatoes donít need to spend 45 minutes in an oven. Instead, theyíre cooked in water in a large skillet. The recipeís most time-consuming step is peeling and slicing the potatoes, though you certainly can do that ahead of time, then park them on the counter until youíre 10 minutes from dinnertime.

Cooking the potatoes takes so little time because theyíve been sliced fairly thin. Another perk of this recipe: Adding the spices to the water in which the spuds are boiled ensures deep flavor. And the glaze? All you have to do is boil down the cooking liquid and add some butter and brown sugar. Simple!

Happily, this method works equally well with carrots and butternut squash. Itís a sure-fire way to conjure up a stress-free ó and mouth-watering ó side dish for your roast turkey or ham.

Editorís note: Sara Moulton was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years, and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. She currently stars in public televisionís "Saraís Weeknight Meals" and has written three cookbooks, including Sara Moultonís Everyday Family Dinners.

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Skillet-Glazed Spicy Sweet Potatoes

Start to finish: 35 minutes

Servings: 4

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Kosher salt

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, halved, or quartered lengthwise, and sliced crosswise 1/3-inch thick

2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, whisk together 1 1/2 cups water, the cumin, paprika, cayenne, and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the potatoes, then cover the skillet and bring the liquid to a boil. When it boils, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes, covered, for three to five minutes. Remove the lid and prick the potatoes with a paring knife. If they are almost tender, remove the lid and increase the temperature so the liquid boils. If they are not almost tender, cover the potatoes and cook, covered, for another minute or so, then remove the lid.

Boil the liquid until it only comes up the side of the skillet about 1/4 inch. Add the butter, brown sugar, and lemon juice, then simmer, stirring gently, until the liquid is reduced to a glaze. Season with salt and serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: 210 calories (50 calories from fat, 24 percent of total calories); 6 g fat (3.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 580 mg sodium; 38 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 11 g sugar; 3 g protein.

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