I love cooking a full-course Thanksgiving dinner, even though it’s a lot of work. So much food to prepare in so little time. I have, however, figured out one quick little shortcut that helps save time, and confusion, in the kitchen.
I first discovered baked sweet potatoes at a buffet restaurant. The friend I was dining with pointed them out to me and raved about how delicious they were. While not a huge sweet potato fan myself, I noticed what an easy side dish it would be to prepare. Simply take a sweet potato, or a yam, quarter it, wrap it in foil, and bake it like a regular potato.
I tried it myself a couple of Thanksgivings ago, and it was a big hit. Much less prep time and less hassle than candied yams, with no added sugars or preservatives, no casserole dish to wash, and fewer calories to boot. Best of all, my guests loved them.
I once had a friend who loved sweet potatoes. I mean seriously loved them. So much so that she would have done nothing short of grabbing a steak knife and telling you to back off if you get too close to her sweet potatoes. Now that’s a food devotion. However, she wasn’t much of a cook, and when I began testing recipes for Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, I passed this one along to her as it’s easy to prepare, even for those who are, “kitchen challenged.” It’s also a nice dish for those who wax nostalgic for “holiday” meals over the course of the year.
HAM WITH SWEET POTATOES
1 ½ pounds sliced ham or shoulder
3 cups raw, sliced sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon margarine
Cut the ham or shoulder into pieces for serving. If the meat is very salty, parboil it in water and drain. Brown the meat lightly on both sides and arrange the pieces to cover the bottom of a baking dish. Spread the sliced sweet potatoes over the meat, sprinkle with sugar. Add hot water to melted margarine and pour over the sweet potatoes and meat. Cover the dish and bake slowly until the meat and sweet potatoes are tender, basting the sweet potatoes occasionally with the gravy. Toward the last, remove the lid and let the top brown well. Yields 6 servings.
Modern adaptation: Heat oven to 350°. Butter may be used instead of margarine. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for approximately one hour, basting the sweet potatoes occasionally as directed in the original recipe. After baking for one hour remove foil and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes have browned. Turkey ham may also be used, and the sugar can be decreased to one teaspoon.