I love biscuits, and sweet potatoes, and cooks, and stories, so how could I not fall in love with Well, Shut My Mouth! The Sweet Potatoes Restaurant Cookbook“? Written by Stephanie L. Tyson, chef of Winston-Salem’s celebrated “Sweet Potatoes Restaurant“, the book is a treasury of inviting recipes, with culinary chops and inspiration flowing from the author’s deep Southern roots. When the book was published early in the fall of 2011, NPR’s Andrea Seabrook interviewed Chef Tyson and co-owner Vivian Joiner for this feature on “All Things Considered.
Sweet Potatoes Restaurant (website HERE) opened in 2004, and quickly became a destination and anchor of Winston-Salem’s Downtown Arts District. Co-owner Vivian Joyner, a Washington, DC native, keeps the front of the house a warm, welcoming place for regulars and newcomers alike. Born and raised in Winston-Salem, Chef Tyson’s cookbook provides recipes for an abundance of satisfying dishes like these: Sweet Potato, Corn, and Country Ham Risotto; Green Tomato, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo; Quick and Easy Hoppin’ John Soup; Bluffton, South Carolina-Style Red Rice; and Miss Ora’s Best Fried Chicken in the Entire World.
Visit Sweet Potatoes Restaurant’s Facebook Page right HERE.
Stephanie Tyson’s Sweet Potato Biscuits
biscuits came out beautifully for me the very first time I made them. This is not because I am a biscuit queen; not even close. I have no head-start on this essential signature Southern baked good, despite my place of birth (Piedmont North Carolina) and my many years working the oven. If I can make them, you can too. They look beautiful, and they are marvelously good; and as chef/author Stephanie Tyson puts it: “…just Southern, plain and simple”. Cook’s note: The dough is quite soft and moist. I found using a generous hand with the additional flour used for gently kneading, shaping, and cutting out the biscuits made them easy to handle. They were still tender and not tough.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening, chilled
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Cut in the shortening and butter with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and mashed sweet potato. Add this to the flour mixture and stir until combined. The dough will be very wet. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface. Knead the dough until it starts to come together. Roll the dough to about 1/2 –inch thickness. Cut the dough with a 2-inch biscuit cutter and place in a parchment-lined baking pan. For biscuits with soft sides, place the biscuits close together, almost touching. Otherwise, place them 2 inches apart. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown. Brush with the melted butter.
From Well, Shut My Mouth! The Sweet Potatoes Restaurant Cookbook, by Stephanie L. Tyson, John F. Blair Publishing Co., 2011. Order a copy for your kitchen right HERE or HERE , or ask for it at your favorite indie bookshop!