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November 28th, 2008

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01:53 pm - Bacon, yam, and a new tradition
Laura has already posted about our dinner, saving me the trouble of commemorating a lovely meal that involved a shit-lot of cheese. (At the end I was just adding crumbled Gorgonzola to everything to see what it would be like. Result: DELICIOUS IN EVERY CASE.)

She didn't pay proper credit to what I thought was one of the highlights of the meal, however: baconed yam. Which she improperly referred to as "Candied sweet potatoes with bacon instead of"whateverwhatever--it's all wrong.

First of all, these yams (which, yes, were in fact sweet potatoes) are not candied. That is, from a classificatory perspective, their salient characteristic was not that they were candied. It's that they were baconed. No sane person would look at this dish and say, "Gosh, that looks awfully sweet!" or "By George, are those yams candied?" No. They would look at it and say "My god, man, did you even include any yam in that bacon?" or "The God of Kosher* weeps in perpetuity at the existence of this abomination."

The beautiful thing about this dish is actually how incredible the bacon portion of it is. I tend to think of bacon as being most useful for seasoning things and then discarding. By eating. Because I fucking love it. But, comes to cooking a subtle dish, it's hard to go wrong with "cook and discard bacon." In this case, however, the bacon itself was really the highlight--it basically ended up candied. So you have this incredibly rich, savory, and salty bacon, but it's infused with the flavor of brown sugar and sweet potatoes.

The main downside of this dish is that, having eaten it, it's hard for me not to view sweet potatoes as a nice way to season your bacon.

So, for those who are interested: the recipe. Just a warning: this is a sophisticated bit of cooking that requires a light touch and exacting timing and balance. You might not want to try it unless you're extremely experienced with piling a fuck-ton of bacon on otherwise straightforward dishes just 'cause.

Baconed Yam
  • Something like, I dunno, six or seven sweet potatoes? I don't really remember
  • Misc. sweet ingredients (e.g. brown and white sugars, orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, other stuff. But who cares, really?)

  1. Peel sweet potatoes and chop to bite-size chunks. Steam them. For a while. They should be slightly undercooked. Or overcooked. It's not really a big deal.
  2. In, like, a bowl, combine and whisk together the sweet ingredients, including the liquid. You can add a little flour if you want it to thicken in the bacon fat.
  3. Put the shit from step 1 with the shit from step 2 into an oven-safe dish. Maybe like shake it up to coat it. If the sweet potatoes were undercooked, you can safely stir them without creating mush.
  4. Place an even layer of bacon over the sweet potatoes.
  5. Kind of push the bacon down between the sweet potatoes to create room for more bacon on top.
  6. Place an even layer of bacon over the sweet potatoes.
  7. You can maybe get some more bacon into the sides there, can't you?
  8. Well, damn, all that jostling of the yams just made room for more bacon, now didn't it?
  9. Place an even layer of bacon over the sweet potatoes.
  10. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes or until the bacon looks fucking delicious. It might take longer, or maybe less time.

Since a whole bunch of bacon on some basically mushy ingredients isn't the most attractive presentation, I found it useful to flip the results out into separate serving dish. This creates a bed of bacon (sometimes I think, "Maybe the Midwest really is starting to get to me...") on which the yams rest.

* Yahweh

(18 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:November 28th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)
This is the best recipe ever and I am totally trying it for Christmas.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:November 28th, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
One year on Valentine's Day I made this delicious... god, I don't even remember what it was. Shrimp & veggies with a sort of rose sauce over couscous. It was the sauce that made it, though, as it had been an experiment. I then spent the next week never getting around to getting down the recipe of it, which would have taken the form of a narrative of dramatic reversals and panic. I didn't really remember the ingredients or measures, but it would have been all steps like:

4) Add some half and half and let simmer for ten minutes.
5) After twenty minutes of watching YouTube, freak out and remember you're cooking dinner.
6) Sprint to kitchen and search desperately for a spatula to scrape the crust off the sides of the saucepan.
23) Taste sauce. Nearly spit it out in disgust and disappointment.
24) Bemoan your lack of talent at cooking and--hell, if you've got this wrong, what else are you wrong about?--maybe at writing? In bed?
25) Add some sugar. Add too much sugar.
26) It's ruined. Everything is ruined.
43) Continue drinking.
44) Warn Laura that all is lost and this dinner is a sign to you both that you have no love in your heart.
45) Clear palette with some vodka.
46) Taste it again. It will be perfect.

It is to my great detriment that I didn't actually get around to it, because that sauce was amazing.
[User Picture]
Date:November 29th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
Are there any adequate substitutes for sweet potatoes or yams in this recipe? How would it taste with something else?
[User Picture]
Date:November 29th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:November 29th, 2008 04:10 am (UTC)
One more question.

What do you do with the remaining 1/4 package of the bacon? Or is that just an indication of not having a big enough pan?
[User Picture]
Date:November 29th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
You use it for whatever's lying around. We went through most of our fridge, so I've been putting it on our cats and staring at them.
Date:November 29th, 2008 07:30 am (UTC)
I have read your posting and I am intrigued. You are clearly one who understands my sophisticated pallet and I was hoping you could answer a question regarding this particular recipe. Would it be possible to substitute coca-cola for the "sweet" ingredients? I ask because I have found that most of the finer cuisines require only potatoes, bacon, and coca-cola.
Thank you for your timely response,
Buddy "The Hand" Saucelberger

[User Picture]
Date:November 29th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
I was going to reply all in tone and whatnot, but I can't because I'm obsessed with the prospect of what the Coke would do to bacon if mixed. Wouldn't it, like, dissolve it? You would have this fizzy, meaty suspension of thick liquid and sugar. And, I suppose incidentally, yams.
Date:November 29th, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
Man, I dunno. But actually, the caramel and sugars in coke make it a really good marinade...
Date:November 29th, 2008 07:31 am (UTC)
Oh - also, you don't post enough. I laughed so hard, a little pee came out. Just a drop, but still.
[User Picture]
Date:November 29th, 2008 12:05 pm (UTC)

Resolved: You Must Post More Often

This post made me "inappropriately excited," I was so thrilled about that recipe.
[User Picture]
Date:November 29th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)

A recipe for our morning

1. Read this post.
2. Laugh out loud.
3. Seriously, Aaron and I busted out laughing. Like five or fifteen times.
4. Ask ourselves why we didn't use bacon in our candied sweet potatoes. We used apples. WHY, WHY, WHY APPLES INSTEAD OF BACON
5. Look for bacon in the fridge. Damn damn damn now I really want some bacon.
6. Decide to make this recipe ASAP.
7. Thank the inventor of this beautiful foodstuff for sharing it!

Edited at 2008-11-29 06:44 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:November 29th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)

Re: A recipe for our morning

Laura and I have agreed that "SRSLY, WHY, WHY, WHY APPLES INSTEAD OF BACON" is the finest declaration of our existential dilemma we've read in a long time. (It's way better than killing a nauséated Arab or whatever crap.)

Also, just consider: baconed apples. (I'm convinced that this is a universally applicable process. Like GAP analysis or Marxism.)
[User Picture]
Date:December 2nd, 2008 06:23 am (UTC)

Re: A recipe for our morning

[Here via jaylake:]

Synchronicity lives. Herewith a prospective source for baconed apples....
[User Picture]
Date:November 30th, 2008 06:59 am (UTC)
This recipe is brilliant. I'm linking to it on trashy_eats, the best LJ cooking community for bacon-lovers.
[User Picture]
Date:November 30th, 2008 08:40 am (UTC)
Followed the trashy_eats.

To be honest, this sounds far to incredibly for the lowly mush that is usually on the comm (Delicious mush often, but let's be honest, it's usually ramen covered in leftover cream of mushroom soup with the remnants of cool ranch Dorito's and some hot sauce.)

This sounds like the winter holiday yam dish to end all others. Forget traditional mashed potatoes, maybe-desert regular candied yams. Has no one really made bacon such a highlight in their tuber dishes before? While popular on baked potatoes, those are classy enough for a really nice family meal, and sprinkled bacon bits are never enough.
Date:November 27th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)

IT'S BACON!!! (said in the voice of a cartoon dog from a cheesy dog treat commercial)

This recipe (which was a big hit with the in laws tonight) prompted me to create a lj account just to say: Holy fucking bacon!

That choice of words may seem a bit strange given the whole abomination thing (mentioned above), but seriously.

This dish went well with the bacon au gratin and bacon turkey. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has the same unhealthy sort of relationship that I have with bacon (I've written poetry about it).

Oh bacon, though you spit at and injure me: I love you anyway.

While I could go on for hours, there are leftovers, and a man has to eat.
[User Picture]
Date:November 27th, 2009 08:35 am (UTC)

Re: IT'S BACON!!! (said in the voice of a cartoon dog from a cheesy dog treat commercial)

On old august Thanksgiving days of yore
the pig had twenty decades lived in North
America. That fruit of nature's womb,
sweet tuber (potatoes, yams, or I. Batatas)
lay nestled in the loam of verdant hills,
unnoticed by the pilgrim colonists.
Oh, to be sure, they had their swine and spuds.
But had they thought of what transcendent joys
were offered by the combination of
savory meat and honeyed yam, all mixed
and baked in terracotta dish? I think
their sights were circumscribed: their limited
ambitions merely rose to dreams of plains,
of mist-wreathed mountains, valleys green in spite
of frost, of untamed wilderness that stretched
beyond their sight; a reverie of god-
kissed tracts within their reach, yet sprawling out
against a vast and limitless horizon.
This vision merely stretched across the land.
These settlers were bound in vision by
the earth. They could not look into the sky
to glimpse the heavens; choirs angelic, stars
all populated by the gods, delights
to stretch the mortal frame and coax the fire
of thought and passion forth that man would rise
to join the heavens in his mind. No blood,
no conquest (active or through poxy sheets),
and no expansion in a foreign world
could lift him up beyond the world itself.
Mankind (as pilgrim guest or settled lord)
must have a catalyst, a pain or dart,
a thorn to spur his sights to holy heights.
O baconed yam--all salt and sugar drawn
directly from the nectar of the sky.
The spark of genius: transformational,
sublime, apotheotic recipe
that lifts us up beyond the meager earth
into the stars to take our place with moons
and satellites and fiercely burning suns.
Would it be strange to turn our back on vast
and teeming empires, conquest, Manifest
Destiny, all societies that we
might build? Give thanks: this bacon dish reminds
us what we might become. Not mortals bound
to die, but gods, eternally alive
by way of simmered yams in fatty meat.

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