A classic Thanksgiving side dish of yams or sweet potatoes that are glazed with butter, brown sugar, orange juice, and cinnamon sauce. It’s the perfect complement to your holiday table.
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These candied yams are such a nice side dish to the Thanksgiving table. They are rich and sweet with warm spices that go so well with the salty, savory flavors of the turkey and stuffing.
Growing up, my mom made these every Thanksgiving and they were my favorite. My perfect bite would be a fork layered with a bit of turkey, a small sliver of stuffing, a bit of candied yam, and a topper of cranberry sauce. I can still taste how perfectly balanced the flavors and textures were on that one single bite.
When I started having the holidays at my home, I made this classic Thanksgiving side as well. It was a tradition and made me remember mom fondly.
Getting older and trying to be healthier, I got away from these kinds of homey, decadent, comfort foods. I’m not sure why I denied myself this one time a year pleasure.
Imagine my delighted surprise when having a business lunch in Houston at a Soul Food restaurant, I was served a heaping portion of candied yams that were almost identical to mom’s.
I was in Heaven and vowed to include this dish on my Thanksgiving table as often as possible.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A YAM AND A SWEET POTATO?
A yam is indigenous to Asia and Africa. It has a thick, tough, bark-like skin, much like yucca and a dry, starchy flesh that is either white, red, or purple.
The yam has a flavor that isn’t sweet but is very starchy, much like a white potato. A true yam is not common in the United States unless you go to a specialty grocer.
Sweet potatoes have a thin, firm skin and a moist flesh that could be white, orange, yellow, copper, red, or purple. It is often the copper, red or orange sweet potatoes that are referred to as yams in our local groceries.
Sweet potatoes are less starchy and much sweeter than a yam or white potato. Each color flesh has a slightly different flavor profile.
HOW DO I DISTINGUISH THE FLAVOR BETWEEN SWEET POTATOES?
There are two different types that taste a bit differently and also cook differently.
- Firm sweet potatoes have a golden skin and a pale flesh. They remain firmer and waxier after cooking.
- Soft sweet potatoes have coppery skin and orange flesh. These potatoes become soft and creamy when cooked. If you see “yams” in your local grocery store, it is probably safe to assume they are soft sweet potatoes.
ITEMS USED IN MAKING MOM’S CANDIED SWEET POTATOES
- Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Stock Pot, 6-quart – I own all of these wonderful pots. They’re worth the investment!
- Calphalon Classic Nonstick Saute Pan With Cover, 5 Quart – refer to the above. I love and own all of these pots and pans.
- DOWAN 2 Piece Porcelain Angled Serving Bowls, Salad Bowls, 26 Oz, White – These bowls are so pretty, with such an interesting shape. I also love that they come as a pair.
LOOKING FOR OTHER SIDE DISH RECIPES?
May I suggest…
- Sauteed Haricots Vert
- Maple Miso Glazed Brussels Sprouts
- Steakhouse Creamed Spinach
- Easy Sugar Snap Peas
- Lemon Parmesan Roasted Asparagus
- Sweet and Sour Braised Red Cabbage
This classic Thanksgiving side dish is a perfect compliment to the savory turkey and stuffing or the sweet/tart cranberry dishes. Since you make this dish on the stovetop, it keeps your oven free for other recipes.
3 pounds orange flesh, brown skin, sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
6 tablespoons of butter
1–1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups orange juice
In a large pot, add the sweet potatoes, 2 teaspoons of salt, and enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 – 2-inches. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they can be pierced with a form, but not yet tender and fully cooked Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon. Keep stirring until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Whisk in the orange juice. Add the potatoes back into the skillet. Turn, gently, to coat in the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for at least 10 minutes or until the sauce reduces to a syrup and the potatoes are tender.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Saute
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Holiday recipe, classic Thanksgiving side dish, potato recipe, sweet potato recipe