Oh, the horrors! Just about every American who's ever grown up having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner each year has probably suffered through the mysterious side dish in their childhood, and later on in adulthood, of sweet potatoes with marshmallows. Is it a side dish? Is it a dessert? Is it even a vegetable anymore? We're not sure.
But tradition it is, and if you actually do like it, then more power to you. And because of that tradition, as "Sweet Sue" Johnson-Langdon, executive director of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission has rightly pointed out, people often think of sweet potatoes as belonging solely in the domain of Thanksgiving dinner, and that's unfortunate. Because with a little imagination, this vegetable can be turned into so many other delicious dishes.
That's why this week we were thrilled to receive a case of sweet potatoes for Recipe SWAT Team from North Carolina. North Carolina is the country's number one sweet potato producing state, and so it's only fitting that the sweet potato is also the state's official vegetable.
Before we proceed any further, though, we'd like to answer a question that is likely burning on everyone's minds. Is a sweet potato the same thing as a yam?
Sweet Sue, who is married to a sweet potato farmer, says that for all intents and purposes, in this country, it is the same thing. Why? Unless you are walking into an ethnic grocery store that imports actual yams from Japan, Africa, or Latin America, supermarkets here generally market sweet potatoes as yams and vice versa; in other words, the terms are used interchangeably. Isn't that confusing and horrible? Yes.
Anyway, this week's Recipe SWAT Team turned out to be a bit of a humdinger, because we came up with 10 recipes for you to try — five from the folks here at The Daily Meal and five from our Culinary Content Network. It was a tough showdown, but this week's winning recipe could be none other than this recipe for Sweet Potato Pie Pancakes with Pecan Praline Syrup by Lisa Bowie, author of the blog Creole Contessa. They're the perfect Sunday brunch treat.
All of the recipes featured here can be made at home for about $20 or less, excluding the cost of small amounts of basic ingredients such as butter, oil, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and other dried herbs and spices. It's also worth noting that the sweet potato itself wasn't a huge factor in the cost of these recipes at just $1 each, less if purchased in bulk. So if you're looking for a nutritious, economical meal, give the sweet potato a chance.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.