One of the biggest challenges of producing a holiday meal is figuring out how to cook all of the various dishes and land them all on the table at the same thrilling moment.
It’s not easy, especially when there’s 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 let’s talk about the sweet potato before tackling the method.
These days, there’s 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. Here, they’re mostly sold at Latin or Caribbean markets. They are mild in flavour and starchy. How they became confused with sweet potatoes is a long story, but suffice to say that if you’re at the supermarket in search of a sweet potato that is indeed sweet, you’ll probably be all right whether it’s labeled sweet potato or yam.
As noted, one of the great things about this recipe is that the potatoes don’t need to spend 45 minutes in an oven. Instead, they’re cooked in water in a large skillet. The recipe’s 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 you’re 10 minutes from dinnertime.
Cooking the potatoes takes so little time because they’ve been sliced fairly thin. Another perk of this recipe: Adding the spices to the water in which the spuds are boiled ensures deep flavour. 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. It’s a sure-fire way to conjure up a stress-free—and mouth-watering—side dish for your roast turkey or ham.
SKILLET-GLAZED SPICY SWEET POTATOES
Start to finish: 35 minutes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
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, 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 3 to 5 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 that 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 per cent 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.