For the third year, Custom Commodities, Inc. has sponsored the Yam’licious contest during the East Texas Yamboree. Each year, participants from across Upshur County presented a variety of creative ways to implement yams as a main course dish.
A “main course” is basically defined as the heartiest, most substantive dish in a meal, usually containing a protein. Sides and desserts are not accepted in this contest.
Judges have the difficult task of judging in front of the crowd of interested folks, participants and their families. They judge the recipes on the yam/sweet potato presence being easily identifiable, overall appearance, texture, aroma and taste. Yes, they must taste each recipe (unless a food safety concern is present).
Each year, the three judges have given feedback on each entry and have all said how difficult a decision it has been to choose just one winner. They are called “Celebrity Judges” because they are not “trained” food show judges, but rather generally well-known in the community who happen to like sweet potatoes, so it’s a fun time for everyone involved.
In year’s past, hearty recipes were entered like sweet potato chili, tacos, yam sausage bundles and this year was no exception.
Jayden Taylor was the sole participant this year, but since this is not her first cooking contest, her dish was easily a winner. Taylor participates in 4-H Food Shows on the district level and has also competed in district 4-H Food Challenge and Ag Product ID teams.
All recipes are submitted with each entry, and the one entered was noted by the judges to be a strong base that could easily be adapted to fit anyone’s personal desires and remain a healthy staple item.
Since it is autumn and the holiday season, this dish would be perfect to make for family or work parties but it should be kept and served hot. It is from www.eazypeazymealz.com and is described as a “healthy, easy and insanely delicious dinner that your whole family will love! Ready in 30 minutes.”
Southwestern Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Skillet
1 lb lean ground beef (or black beans for a vegetarian version)
2 TBSP chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
2.5 cups sweet potato – skin on, diced (approx. 2 medium sized)
¾ cup water
½ cup onion, diced (1 medium)
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
6 ounces baby spinach
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup diced fresh tomato
1 avocado, sliced
Brown ground beef in a large cast iron skillet.
Add 1 TBSP chili powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, and ¼ tsp salt. Stir well to coat the beef with all of the spices.
Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until well browned.
Remove from the skillet and reserve.
Wipe out pan, remove all residual fat.
Add sweet potato to skillet with ½ cup water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until the sweet potato is tender and the water absorbed.
Remove cover and add onion, bell pepper and garlic to the skillet and all remaining spices.
Pour in additional ¼ cup of water and stir well.
Cook until onion is tender, 5-7 more minutes. If mixture begins to stick, add additional water ¼ cup at a time, and cook until completely evaporated.
Add beef back to the skillet and stir well.
Add spinach to the skillet, cover for 2-3 minutes or until spinach has wilted.
Remove skillet from heat and top with shredded cheese, freshly diced tomato, and diced avocado.