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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baked Yams with Broccoli Cheese Sauce

I was browsing through cookbooks the other day, as I'm wont to do on rainy dreary days and I came across baked potato sides. And I thought, it's been years since I've had a baked potato.

The only thing better than a baked potato is a baked yam because it becomes all gooey sticky caramel sweetness and also because roasted yams are perfect baby food and I don't have to make anything extra for the little one. Two birds, baby, one stone.

While baked potatoes are delicious with just butter and salt, they get a whole lot better when you add a cream based product. So I decided to make a white sauce with some cheese and broccoli and carrots thrown in. I only had mozzarella & parmesan, so that's what I used, though I think old cheddar would have added an extra kick.

To roast your yams:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Violently spear your yams with a fork several times. Look, cooking = anger management class, don't you feel better? Wrap them in aluminum foil and place them on a baking sheet.

Bake them for about 50 minutes to an hour. Mine were really teeny single portion taters, and they took about 50 minutes, so do not attempt these times with behemoth yams. The baking sheet is important, don't skip it, or you'll have caramel sticky sweetness all over your oven.

The sauce will take about 10 minutes, so figure this into the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time of your potatoes.

Broccoli-Cheese Sauce

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup parmesan cheese
1 bunch of broccoli crowns, cut in small florets
handful of baby carrots, chopped
salt & pepper

Start by blanching your broccoli and carrots. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter until just foamy. BE READY with your whisk, I used this one
because it scrapes flat against the bottom of the pan and incorporates the flour evenly. Dump in the flour and whisk it, whisk it good until the flour is well incorporated and starts to change colour. I let it cook just until it was a creamy yellow, though you may wish to cook it more or less than that, depending on how flavourful you'd like your final sauce to be.

Add your milk and WHISK for the love of all that's holy. Once you have a nice thick sauce, add your blanched veggies and some salt and pepper. Then add the cheese and stir it slowly as it all melts and becomes a delicious velvety smooth sauce.

Take out your potatoes, and do what I like to call the Wendy's split. One straight mid-deep cut lengthwise, then pinch and push up. The more surface area you have for sauce, the happier your ass will be. Ladle some sauce onto your Wendy-fied potato. Whip out your iphone and take a photo, then revel in creamy sauce and fluffy potato.

Et, voilĂ !

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