Wine With Candied Yams?

We get lots of questions about pairing wine with food, especially this time of the year — when we tend to eat certain dishes that aren’t all that common the rest of the year.

Case in point: candied yams. Around my house, it’s rare to encounter this dish other than on Turkey Day.

This came to mind when the following question came in from a Vinesse Today follower…

“I really don’t like the dish, but my father-in-law insists that serving candied yams — complete with marshmallows on top — is a Thanksgiving tradition that our family should honor. So, to keep peace in the family, I’ll be making it. But I’m at a loss about what kind of wine to serve with it. Any ideas?”

Well, Thanksgiving dinner is the trickiest meal of the year because there are so many flavors on the table, including those candied yams. But if one were to isolate the candied yams and pair a wine specifically with that dish, we’d suggest Tawny Port or a not super-sweet dessert wine.

It may sound like overkill to pair sweet with sweet, but let’s face it: The entire Thanksgiving meal is about overkill.

It looks like our question poser has no choice re: that particular side dish, but if you’d like to try something different, consider this tasty recipe. It makes 6 servings, and pairs nicely with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.



  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cups risotto Arborio rice
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 12 large sea scallops
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in 2 pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Coarse sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Rinse the shrimp shells under cold running water. Heat the broth and shrimp shells in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the shrimp shells. Keep the broth at a simmer over medium-low heat.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook until translucent (about 4 minutes). Add the rice, and cook, stirring, until the rice is coated in the oil and the kernels are translucent (about 3 minutes).

3. Add the tomatoes and wine to the rice. Cook, stirring, until the wine has completely absorbed. Using a ladle, add 3/4 cup of hot broth to the rice. Use a wooden spoon to stir rice constantly. When the rice has absorbed most but not all of the liquid, and the mixture is just thick enough to leave a clear wake behind the spoon when stirring, add another 3/4 cup broth. Continue adding broth in this manner, stirring constantly, until all the broth has been used, the kernels are al dente in the center, and they are suspended in a liquid that resembles heavy cream  (about 18 minutes).

4. Meanwhile, about 10 minutes after the risotto has started cooking, prepare the shrimp and scallops. In a large skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add garlic clove and cook until lightly browned. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon, and add the shrimp and the scallops.

5. Cook until the shrimp are pink and the scallops are lightly browned on both sides (about 4 minutes). Transfer the scallops to a plate and cover with foil.

6. Pour the remaining contents of the skillet (flavorful oil included) into the risotto, and mix well. Stir in the butter pieces and parsley, and mix until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

7. Serve immediately, garnished with the parsley.

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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