With Christmas approaching and Hanukah underway, the food bloggers here on WordPress are really pulling out all the stops! Over the last few days my blog feed has been a virtual conga line of drool-inducing recipes. This has had the effect of making me feel somewhat lazy, becuase it’s been a full week since I’ve posted a single recipe of my own, and has also distracted me from the latter task by providing me with an unbroken stream of bars, cookies, slices and cakes of various descriptions to ogle for hours. Even my favourite breakfast item has received a festive makeover in the form of eggnog french toast! It’s all too much for one stomach to handle.
Lots of dishes on the savoury side of things have caught my eye lately as well. Emmy Cooks has been posting a series of savoury oatmeal recipes, all of which look fantastic. I tried her Savoury Oatmeal with Black Pepper, Blue Cheese and an Olive Oil Fried Egg for breakfast this morning and it ruled. This Hearty Miso Soup on the Spontaneous Tomato blog is also incredible (in a warming, Winter-appropriate kind of way) and is healthy enough to (almost) justify eating my mum’s butter-laden Christmas cake for dessert several nights straight.
I’m not sure whether it’s a blessing or a curse to be the recipient of an ENTIRE Christmas cake (the thing must weigh at least 5 pounds), especially given the fact that I’m the only one in the household (make that trailer) who will eat it. My boyfriend won’t go near it (like many he sits firmly on the anti-Christmas cake side of the fence) and the only solid items baby Hunter is interested in putting in his mouth these days are Cheerios and cardboard. (Not that I’d feel particularly great feeding him cake containing synthetically-died cherries anyway). Alas, it’s looking like it’s up to me to make sure the Christmas cake gets eaten. Talk about a #firstworldproblem!
There are lots of other recipes I’ve bookmarked to try as well, but today I’m finally back with a recipe of my own in the form of these jumbo peanut-stuffed yams! When I was visiting with my mum last week in Vancouver we got to talking about stuffed potatoes, and I thought it would be interesting to try preparing yams the same way. Yams are my kind of food: starchy and sweet, yet they have a low glycemic index rating and thus have less of an effect on your blood sugar than potatoes, and keep you feeling full longer.
However, I didn’t want to give my yams the usual butter/green onion/cheese treatment, as one would a potato. I love African yam and peanut soup and thought I could capture the same combination of flavours in a stuffed yam. This I did by combining onion, ginger, lots of garlic and peanut butter with some of favourite spices – red chili flakes, cinnamon, cumin, coriander and turmeric – and some couscous for added texture. A few handfuls of cilantro folded in at the end gives that refreshing flavour that only cilantro can give, and a dollop of yogurt on top (I used the thick Mediterranean stuff but feel free to use fat free or soy yogurt if that’s your preference) works well to cool off the spiciness of the dish.
The only issue with this recipe is that by adding bulky ingredients like couscous to the yams, I had quite a bit of yam mixture left over after filling up the skins (which you can also eat, by the way, for extra fibre!). But this is hardly a problem in the real sense of the word, and can easily be rectified by saving the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. They might even be good pan fried in a bit of coconut oil for breakfast! And one more thing – the yams I used for this recipe really were large (hence the ‘jumbo’ in the title), so I only used two. If you only have smaller yams at your disposal, use four of them 🙂
Recipe: Jumbo Peanut-Stuffed Yams | With African Spices and Couscous
Makes 2 large stuffed yams or 4 smaller ones
- 1/2 cup uncooked whole wheat couscous (or use one cup of cooked quinoa if you’re wanting a gluten free option)
- 1/2 water (to cook couscous)
- 2 large yams (or 4 small ones), scrubbed clean
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 4 medium cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 cup unsalted natural peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
- 1 398ml can diced tomatoes, preferably organic
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt or soy yogurt (optional for garnish)
- Salt to taste
Prepare yams: Preheat oven to 400F. Using a fork, poke several holes in yams then place in a baking pan. Place in oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until yams are tender all the way through. (The yams I used were very large so I microwaved them for 5 minutes each before putting them in the oven). Once yams are cooked, remove from oven and set aside to cool. While yams are baking, prepare couscous.
Prepare couscous: Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous to water and stir well. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Once couscous is cooked, fluff with a fork and set aside until needed.
Finish stuffed yams: Once yams are cool enough to touch, remove top 1/5th of each yam and scoop out flesh (leave a little flesh on the skin so the yam doesn’t completely collapse). Place flesh in a bowl and set aside. Keep skins in reserve.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft. Add ginger and garlic and saute just until garlic begins to brown. Add all spices and stir until they coat other ingredients. Add peanut butter and stir until melted. Fold in diced tomatoes. Lower heat slightly and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fold in yams, then cooked couscous. Finally, fold in chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust with salt if necessary.
To serve, fill each yam skin with yam mixture and top with a dollop of yogurt or soy yogurt. Eat!