Since 2005, Louisiana Cookin’ and the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission have hosted a Louisiana yam recipe contest to highlight the many ways folks can prepare this delicious root vegetable. Over the years, we’ve seen thousands of entries from around the United States ranging from simple baked sweet potatoes and home-style casseroles to elegant chef-inspired creations.
It’s the versatility of the sweet potato that makes it such an exciting ingredient. It pairs well with not only sweet flavors—cane syrup, marshmallow, and brown sugar—but can take the heat of East Asian cuisines.
This year’s crop of winning recipes covers a wide range of flavor profiles and preparations. The Grand Prize-winning dish, B.L.T. Sweet Potato Hash from Peter Crouth in Plantsville, Connecticut, combines sweet and savory elements to make it an unbeatable addition to your next brunch.
Instead of organizing the contest by dish, as had been customary, this year we wanted to see what folks could do with the different varieties of Louisiana sweet potatoes: fresh, canned, and frozen. At the judging ceremony, hosted by the Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge, the judges were particularly impressed by entries like the Piquant Sweet Potato Quiche by Karen McGowan, of Houston, Texas. She repurposed frozen sweet potato fries into a sweet, crispy crust.
Look for the announcement of the 11th annual Louisiana Yam Recipe Contest in the January/February issue of Louisiana Cookin’. Submit some of your favorite sweet potato recipes, and you might find yours in these pages next year.