• Tommy Centola

Whip up Sweet Potatoes in hash, pie

Louisiana is the fourth largest sweet potato producing state in the country. Trailing North Carolina, California and Mississippi, Louisiana produces roughly 16% of the orange fleshed tuber. Naturally, cooks in Louisiana use sweet potatoes in a variety of ways and recipes.

Most people believe that sweet potatoes and yams are the same. Yams are rarely sold in the states. So the yams that you think you have eaten are actually sweet potatoes. Yams are sweeter than sweet potatoes and contain less vitamin A and C. Since the orange fleshed variety was introduced to the U.S. decades ago, producers and shippers chose to use the name yam to distinguish them.

The orange-colored root vegetable that you are used to eating are just one variety of sweet potato. The flesh of sweet potatoes can also be white or purple. Even though the UDSA requires that orange-colored sweet potatoes always be labeled “sweet potato,” most people still think of sweet potatoes as yams. Either sweet potatoes or yams will work in these recipes.

I love a good hash for breakfast. Traditionally, the hash that I make is made with corned beef and regular potatoes. This is a slightly healthier version made with chicken and sweet potatoes. It is very flavorable and a great addition to any breakfast. Feel free to experiment by changing up the seasonings to your liking.

Sweet Potato and Chicken Hash

4 cups Chicken Stock

1 1/2 pounds Chicken Breast, boneless and skinless

1 1/2 pounds Sweet Potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 large Onion, minced

1 small Green Bell Pepper, minced

1 small Red Bell Pepper, minced

3 cloves Garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Butter

1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika

1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 cup Green Onions, chopped

1/4 cup fresh Parsley, chopped

1 cup Half-and-Half

Poached or Fried Eggs

Toast

In a deep skillet, bring stock to a boil and add chicken. Reduce heat and poach chicken at a bare simmer, for 7 minutes. Remove chicken from liquid and cool. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes, and drain. In a 12-inch heavy skillet, cook onions, bell pepper and garlic in butter over moderately high heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add spices and salt and cook 1 minute. Add chicken, potatoes, green onions, parsley, and half-and-half. Cook, stirring, until half-and half is reduced slightly and has is thickened. To serve, place toast on plate and top with hash and egg.

Sweet Potato and Pecan pie are two of the most popular pies in the south. People only wanting one piece of pie have a hard time choosing between the two. So, why not combine the two? That way, the decision between the two pies would not have to be made. You can still have your pie without feeling guilty of eating two slices. Here is my take on this combination.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

1 prepared Pie Crust

1 pound Sweet Potatoes, baked until fork tender, peeled and mashed

1/2 cup Pure Cane Syrup

1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg

5 Extra Large Eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract, divided

1 1/2 cups Pecan Pieces

1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup

1/2 cup granulated Sugar

1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed

Pinch Salt

Preheat oven to 375℉.

Combine sweet potatoes, cane syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Spoon sweet potato mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Spread smooth. Sprinkle pecan pieces onto the filling. Beat 4 eggs in a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar and salt. Pour egg mixture over pecans. Bake 1 hour, or until pastry edges are golden brown, and filling is set. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before serving.

Next time you are in the store, check out a can of yams. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term “yam” to be accompanied by the term “sweet potato.” That’s why they are interchangeable in recipes.

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