Recipe adapted from Vegetable Recipes I Can’t Live Without
Leftover yams can be a problem. As delicious as they were when they came out of the oven, hot and plump and bursting with flavor, they’re typically deflated and soggy after refrigeration. This is another recipe by Molly Katzen, creator and chef of the Moosewood Restaurant, one of the first and most famous vegetarian restaurants in the US. Molly describes this recipe as subtle, but its slight vanilla flavor is pleasingly pervasive. Originally written for freshly cooked yams, I’ve adapted the recipe to include use with holiday leftovers. This dish would also serve well at winter dinners and potlucks, appealing to diners who enjoy yams but dislike wrestling with the skins.
As we coast from Christmas to the New Year, may your days be merry and bright!
serves 6 or more
recipe can be doubled
2½ lbs. yams, raw or pre-baked
¼ plus 1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. maple syrup
½ tsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
Cooking oil spray
If using raw yams, scrub them and peel them if you like. (I prefer to slip the skins off after they’re boiled.) Cut into chunks approximately 2 inches long. Cook in boiling water until soft, about 15 – 20 minutes. Drain and peel if you didn’t pre-peel them. Drain well in colander and place in large bowl.
To use pre-baked yams, remove the skins. You may preheat the yams in the microwave, or follow directions below for reheating the completed dish in the oven. Microwaving takes a lot less time.
Mash and whip the yams to your liking. You can use a potato masher for a rustic texture, or a handheld electric mixer or immersion blender for smoother, more refined texture.
Stir in salt, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and lemon or lime juice. Serve right away, or store tightly covered in refrigerator.
To reheat, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8” or 9” baking pan or casserole dish with coconut or other cooking oil. Spread yam mixture evenly in dish. Cover tightly with foil. Place in center of oven and bake until warm. Exact timing depends upon how cold the yams and the dish are, and size of dish—approximately 20 – 30 minutes. Microwaving after adding vanilla isn’t recommended, as vanilla flavor is subtle and volatile.