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Women's History Month: Caribbean Women

Candied Orange Yam Empanada, recipe below
Spaniards were the first Europeans wealthy enough to afford the importation of enslaved African laborers from West and Central Africa. Anthropologist Sidney Mintz’s conservative estimate is that “nine and one-half million enslaved Africans reached the Americas. Nearly a third—about 2.6 million reached” Cuba and other Caribbean islands. Enslaved women infused Cuba with various aspects of African foodways including the use plants popular in Africa like yams. Spanish slave holders in Cuba and the Dominican Republic rationed yams (and sweet potatoes) to slaves because, unlike white or Irish potatoes, they kept for a long time. Slaves who did not receive the tubers as rations cultivated them in truck gardens. Afro Cuban women roasted them, used them in one pot meals, and used them to make bake goods. Thus yams represented a continuation of an African tradition in which yams were regularly eaten as fufu among the Ibo and Hausa of West Africa. Here is an inexpensive candied orange yam empanada recipe that cost as little as $7.00 to make

Candied Orange Yam Empanadas Recipe

Empanadas
1 c Goya Masarepa (use the yellow, not white!)
1/2 t salt
1½ c warm water
1 T vegetable oil
About 4 c cooking oil for frying

Candied Yams
2 medium yams
1/2 jar of orange marmalade (with rinds)
1 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 c orange juice
¼ t ground nutmeg
½ t ground cinnamon

Additional Necessities
1 sandwich size plastic bag, sides cut open
Wooden cutting board
Smooth bottomed juice or water glass

Method
Peel and cut the yams into 2” cubes. Toss lightly with oil and roast in a preheated 400° oven for about 20 minutes or until the yams become slightly tender. Remove from oven and set aside. In a large saucepan combine the orange juice, orange marmalade, and brown sugar and bring to a low simmer, making sure the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the roasted yams to the syrup and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.

To prepare the empanadas, spoon about 1/3 of the yams into a bowl along with plenty of syrup. Mash with a fork until almost smooth, adding more syrup if the yams are too dry. Follow the above procedure for shaping the empanadas, this time using the candied orange yam filling. Fry as instructed above and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve with a side of extra syrup, garnish with orange zest. Makes 12 to 15 mini empanadas and about 1 cup extra yams & syrup. Recipe from: http://www.poorgirleatswell.com/2009/11/foodbuzz-24-24-24-after-thanksgiving.html



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