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Bourbon Flavored Sweet Potatoes (Yams)


Shel_B
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I'm going to make a bourbon flavored sweet potato (the orange ones - guess they're really yams) dish for our Christmas dinner next week.  I don't know squat about bourbon ... what would be a good bourbon choice for this dish (Yams, butter, pecans, brown sugar or maple syrup are the main ingredients, plus the bourbon)?  I'm guessing that an inexpensive bourbon would be fine.  What do you suggest?

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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I'm going to make a bourbon flavored sweet potato (the orange ones - guess they're really yams) dish for our Christmas dinner next week.  I don't know squat about bourbon ... what would be a good bourbon choice for this dish (Yams, butter, pecans, brown sugar or maple syrup are the main ingredients, plus the bourbon)?  I'm guessing that an inexpensive bourbon would be fine.  What do you suggest?

They are not really "yams" as yams are a totally different plant.  Sweet potatoes are available in several heirloom varieties as well as hybrids - some are "white" and less sweet, some are more fibrous and some are almost purple. 

Yams are huge tropical plants grown in Africa and some of the south Pacific islands where they have social and religious uses.  I have a large yam mask from New Guinea that was given to me in the early '70s by a friend who was an anthropologist who had spent a few years there.

I was given several "lectures" about the nomenclature of yams and it has stuck with me.  Particularly because the gentleman had a photo of him standing next to a yam that was almost as tall as he was and it was "wearing" the yam mask he gave me.

 

As far as the bourbon dressing, there is an excellent sauce, which I have been making for a few years - browned butter with bourbon and BACON, which puts the sweet potatoes in the "sublime" category.  I really like sweet potatoes but this recipe is the best I have ever tasted.

 

Use a blended bourbon - just not the really cheap stuff.

 

This recipe was originally introduced at least ten years ago because my notes show I downloaded it in December 2005 and there were comments from the prior year.   I have it in a text document and the active link took me to this page which is current. 

Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I always put bourbon in my candied sweet potatoes - whatever I have on hand. Along with a light dusting of "pumpkin pie spice," butter, brown sugar, and a spoonful of frozen orange juice concentrate.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Orange or soft sweet potatoes are called yams to differentiate them from other kinds even though non US yams are a different vegetable altogether.  As to blended bourbon, that is tricky.   Some is great and expensive, a lot of it is neither. It is easier to just stick with straight bourbon IMHO.  You can get small bottles if you don't want to have a lot of it left over.

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Not sure about everybody else but, as a person that has been putting bourbon into sweet potatoes for a great many decades in the manner of the rest of my family's southern cooks that have been putting bourbon into sweet potatoes (and a great many other things including ourselves) for several generations, you don't want to use too much.

 

Seriously, only a couple of tablespoons, if that, depending of course upon how many potatoes you're cooking..

 

It's a very strong flavor and easily can overpower everything else.

 

Especially if you're serving little children and non-drinkers. 

 

When you're talking about such small amounts of bourbon, I've found that it doesn't make much difference which brand you use.

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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Shel, I know you shop Trader Joe's in Berkeley. They sell Bulleit Rye and Bulleit Bourbon for a very good price. In our house the sipping whiskey of choice is Bulleit Rye, so it's always on my TJ list. I'm not a bourbon drinker but my guess is that the Bulleit bourbon would be a perfectly adequate choice for a mid-price whiskey, and maybe you will get into sipping it as well.

Thanks to whomever for posting info about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. I've had an idiotic running discussion with my husband trying to explain this confusing mess created probably by the USDA to distinguish the hard sweet potatoes (golden to white) from the softer sweet potatoes (deeper orange) which are labeled as yams, often garnet or jewel. They are both delicious varieties of sweet potato, and they taste a little different. I think the deeper colored so-called "yams" taste a little more squash-like, but I love them both roasted with brown butter and sage.

When I first started making "sweet potato pie" I bought the harder lighter variety as labeled and I couldn't understand why most pictures of sweet potato pie looked so orangey, like pumpkin. That's because people often make sweet potato pie with the darker "yams," but no one calls it yam pie.

A true yam looks different and probably tastes different, and as you will discover if you try to research them it is very unlikely you will see a true yam for sale at most grocery stores. It is a tropical tuber, often much larger than a sweet potato and often with a rougher black skin. I've only seen pictures.

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Shel, I know you shop Trader Joe's in Berkeley. They sell Bulleit Rye and Bulleit Bourbon for a very good price. In our house the sipping whiskey of choice is Bulleit Rye, so it's always on my TJ list. I'm not a bourbon drinker but my guess is that the Bulleit bourbon would be a perfectly adequate choice for a mid-price whiskey, and maybe you will get into sipping it as well.

Thanks to whomever for posting info about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. I've had an idiotic running discussion with my husband trying to explain this confusing mess created probably by the USDA to distinguish the hard sweet potatoes (golden to white) from the softer sweet potatoes (deeper orange) which are labeled as yams, often garnet or jewel. They are both delicious varieties of sweet potato, and they taste a little different. I think the deeper colored so-called "yams" taste a little more squash-like, but I love them both roasted with brown butter and sage.

 

 

I like the idea of finding something at TJ's as I don't have to make a special trip to a liquor store.  I saw a few brands at the local TJ's that have been mentioned here.  I doubt that I'll be sipping bourbon any time soon.  Tried a sip a few months ago and was really turned off by it.  I'm making the sweet potatoes (using Garnet yams) because Toots' daughter requested the dish.

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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Use a blended bourbon - just not the really cheap stuff.

 

This recipe was originally introduced at least ten years ago because my notes show I downloaded it in December 2005 and there were comments from the prior year.   I have it in a text document and the active link took me to this page which is current. 

 

I like that recipe - it's easy and quick.  Thanks!  I don't know what a blended bourbon is, nor how it would be different in taste from some other bourbons in the recipe.  Thanks!

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 ... Shel


 

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I like the idea of finding something at TJ's as I don't have to make a special trip to a liquor store.  I saw a few brands at the local TJ's that have been mentioned here.  I doubt that I'll be sipping bourbon any time soon.  Tried a sip a few months ago and was really turned off by it.  I'm making the sweet potatoes (using Garnet yams) because Toots' daughter requested the dish.

 

Shel, you should be able to use up that bourbon before too long.

 

There are lots of things that benefit from a shot or two of bourbon:

 

Pecan pie

Bread pudding

Cookies, like (obviously) bourbon balls

Bourbon Pecan Cake

Ham glaze

Eggnog

Grumpy old men

 

Here's a list:

 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/bourbon.html

Edited by Jaymes (log)
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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Shel, you should be able to use up that bourbon before too long.

 

There are lots of things that benefit from a shot or two of bourbon:

 

Pecan pie

Bread pudding

Cookies, like (obviously) bourbon balls

Bourbon Pecan Cake

Ham glaze

Eggnog

Grumpy old men

 

Here's a list:

 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/bourbon.html

 

Thanks for the list, although none of those things you posted are anything I've ever made, except for eggnog.  Bread pudding is on my to-do list though.

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 ... Shel


 

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I like that recipe - it's easy and quick.  Thanks!  I don't know what a blended bourbon is, nor how it would be different in taste from some other bourbons in the recipe.  Thanks!

Single barrel bourbons tend to be more expensive.  Currently I have a "jug" of Jim Beam - bought at Costco and just found a bottle of Ancient Age, which is the one I have been using for my baking and cooking with very good results.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Single barrel is more expensive but it isn't the same thing as straight bourbon. Jim Beam and Ancient Age are both straight whiskeys, though both probably also make single barrel and blended whiskeys too.

The Jim Beam in the jug (1.75 liters) was on sale and not much more than a regular fifth - I try to buy these items when they are on special.  Too bad I don't use much tequila, the local Mexican market has a sale on "anejo" tequilas through tomorrow but I already have enough to last me more than a year.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Jack Daniels or Jim Beam are good choices.  For cooking it doesn't make a lot of difference.  Technically you can use just about any whisky, bourbon or not.  I'd even use brandy without giving it any extra thought. 

Not a major issue but actually Jack Daniels is not bourbon. It's Tennessee whiskey, close but not exactly the same thing. I'm sure it would work for this recipe but being from Kentucky we do know the difference.

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I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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Actually JD meets the legal definition of bourbon but they would like to keep it labeled as Tennessee whiskey to make the product stand out from the crowed of better bourbons and be compared with the smaller group I which includes Dickel and others better Tennessee whiskies.

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In a pinch I have used Southern Comfort which consists of "neutral spirits" with bourbon "flavoring" and fruit and spice flavoring.

It is made in Kentucky but is only marginally related to bourbon.

However, it works just fine in the recipes that I have tried. 

Somewhere in my collection of little cookbooks and pamphlets there is one from Southern Comfort and it includes a recipe for Southern Comfort sweet potatoes.

I was thinking about this earlier and did a search and eventually came across the recipe online at All Recipes.com

It uses canned sweet potatoes but I would use fresh and pre-cook them in the microwave till done.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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