The Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium is in full swing this weekend here in Oxford. Guest chefs were seen whipping up prix fixe menus at SnackBar and City Grocery tonight to whet the appetites of visiting foodies from around the country.
Now, to get you geared up for the gluttony ahead, the Southern Foodways Alliance offers up the following recipe:
White Lily 2010 SFA Symposium Recipe
Sweet Potato / True Yam Biscuits
Yewande Komolafe, a talented pastry chef of Nigerian origin, raised in Atlanta, and now living in New York City – where she works in the test kitchen at Saveur magazine – has conceived a couple of recipes that show how an enterprising cook can adapt true African yams for Southern kitchens.
At the 2010 Southern Foodways Symposium, Yewande’s sweet potato biscuits will be served with her own pepper jelly. Tucked inside will be sock sausage, smoked by Tyler Brown of the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. When you try this at home, country ham works just as well as sock sausage.
Southern Sweet Potato Biscuits
Heat oven to 400°. Using a fork, poke holes all over 2 medium sweet potatoes and wrap in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until a toothpick or a fork goes right through. Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel the skin off and mash the sweet potatoes. Leave slightly chunky.
2 medium white-fleshed sweet potatoes (yielding 1½ cups mashed sweet potatoes)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 stick butter, cold
2 ½ cups White Lily all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cold buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
Heat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and brown sugar, and use a whisk to fully incorporate. Add the cold butter, and, using your fingers, break apart the butter pieces and incorporate into the rest of the ingredients until pea size pieces form. Add the mashed yams and the cold buttermilk. Use a rubber spatula to mix the ingredients until just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface, pat into a single mass, and roll out 1 inch thick. Using a 2¼ inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds from the dough and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more biscuits until all the dough is used. Add a little water to the beaten egg and brush the tops of the biscuits with the egg wash. Place in the oven and bake till golden brown, 15 – 20 minutes. Serve while still warm with a hot pepper jelly and slices of country ham or smoked sock sausage.
Makes 6 Biscuits
True African Yam Biscuits: A Variation
In addition to the ingredients above you’ll need:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt to taste
Instead of the sweet potatoes, source 1 small (8-to 10-inch long) African yam
Preheat oven to 425°. Cut the yam into 1½ inch slices, discarding both end pieces. Using a paring knife, peel off the thick layer of outside skin, and immediately drop the slices into a bowl of water to rinse and prevent oxidization. Cut each slice into ½ inch cubes and keep completely covered with water.