SMOKY BERRY WALNUT YAMS
Although side dishes are meant to enhance the main course, this side dish may well turn out to be the star of the banquet!
2-1/2 to 3 lbs. fresh yams, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
Place yams in extra- large saucepan with water to cover by 1-2 inches. Salt water so that it is sufficiently noticeable when tasted. Bring to boil, partially cover, reduce heat to a slow boil and cook till fork-tender, not mush.
This time, with these yams, it took 5 minutes after they came to a boil. Yams don’t take nearly as long as white potatoes to cook.
Drain in colander.
2 T. margarine
3 T. seedless raspberry jam (I used CROFTER’S ORGANIC)
3 T. Grade A maple syrup
fresh grind black pepper
teeny bit of salt
juice of 1 orange, strained
Place margarine, jam, maple syrup, black pepper, salt and juice of orange in small saucepan. Heat till bubbly whisking till smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
Smoked Berry Walnut Crumbles: Makes about 2-1/2 cups
2 c. walnut halves ( place in food processor and process till evenly crumbly and not yet sticking together)
1/2 c. apple cider
1/2 c. dried cherries and berries (I used Traverse Bay Fruit Co. BERRY CHERRY BLEND)
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 t. pink Himalayan salt
sev. shakes liquid smoke
thinly sliced scallion, green and white part (optional garnish)
In large skillet, over medium heat, place cider, dried cherries and berries, brown sugar, salt and liquid smoke. Stir well. The sugar doesn’t need to be completely melted yet.
Add walnut crumbles all at once, stirring continuously to thoroughly coat. Continue to cook, stirring slowly to cook the sugar, evaporate the liquid and till walnut crumbles start sticking together.
Remove skillet from heat. When the nuts are no longer too hot to touch, drizzle a scoop of white sugar over all. Toss with hands and separate nut grains as best you can with your fingers, while coating with sugar. If there’s leftover sugar, place walnuts in wire mesh strainer and shake off excess.
For this recipe I use 1/2 of the smoked walnuts. Place the other half in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. I keep them at room temperature to use as wanted. They won’t last long.
Set the others aside till you’re ready to assemble the dish.
Assemble: Place drained cooked yam cubes into large bowl. Pour Melted Coating sauce over all, then toss and stir gently to evenly coat.
Transfer coated cubes to serving platter.
Place 1/2 of the smoked walnut crumbles over yam cubes, separating pieces to evenly disperse.
Sprinkle evenly with thinly sliced scallion, green and white part.
Notes: For those who don’t want a scallion garnish, forego the garnish or use a few chopped dried cherries and berries. Fresh sliced sage leaves also work.
Remember not to overcook the yams. They don’t take long.
Another use for the smoked berry walnut crumbles = BLUEBERRY WALNUT RUSSIAN TOAST