Rutabaga Cheddar Mash

Rutabagas – what can you say about them? I think they are one of those foods that people either love or hate and I’m not sure that someone who dislikes them can be convinced to feel otherwise. At the supermarket they have a back-alley kind of feel to them by this time of year. Usually coated in wax and sitting in a corner with other mysterious vegetables that look like extras in a horror movie. You can grow them in the home garden. We tried it once, and while waiting for them to achieve the size of ones we had gotten at the store, we let them get so tough and woody that no amount of boiling could render them edible. They would not even compost, and retained their shape long after everything around them in the compost pile had gone to crumbles. We plan to give them another go this coming year, and will harvest them at a much smaller size, perhaps even going so far as to read and heed the suggested harvest size on the seed packet.

Anyway, humble though they may appear to some, we have always loved them. By “we”, I mean Larry and I. The girls viewed rutabagas on the dinner table as a particularly egregious form of child abuse, and though they would eat the requisite “just try them” one bite, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the whole thing. Now, we can eat them in peace. A few cubes in beef stew or vegetable soups gives an earthy depth of vegetable-ness you just can’t get from anything else. [please don’t speak to me of parsnips or turnips – despite how much I love rutabagas, I can’t abide those close relations. I do plan to give them another try soon, to see if my palate has adjusted any] We like them roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper, or just boiled with a bit of butter. This preparation is heavenly, the rutabagas given the starring role, with support from bit players whose job is to offer a contrast that underscores the sweet, earthy and slightly bitter flavor.

I began with two rutabagas, the size of large grapefruits. And yes, I got them at the supermarket and no I don’t know where they were grown. A long way from here probably. Hey – I said we would grow some this coming summer, ok? They have never been much fun to peel until this kind of peeler came along. It makes the job much easier.Cut them into cubes – about 1 inch or so. The easiest way to do that, is to cut them from end to end, so that you have two halves with a flat side to lay on the cutting board – much easier than try to cut slices from the whole round. Cut each half into 1 inch thick slices, then cut the slices into strips, and the strips into cubes.Place the cubes in a saucepan, add a teaspoon or so of kosher salt, add water to almost cover, and put over medium heat.Simmer covered for about 15 minutes, and then add 1 potato – this one was about 6 ounces – cut into cubes. Simmer another 12 to 15 minutes, until both the rutabaga and potato are tender and cooked through. Drain. The potato is there to give a bit smoother texture to the final result, and can be left out if you prefer to keep down the carbs, or just don’t have any around.While the rutabagas are simmering, you can ready the other ingredients. Smash and mince a couple biggish cloves of garlic, and peel a small onion. Slice the onion very thinly.Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in small saute pan, and add the onion and garlic. Cook, covered, over very low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until limp and completely cooked, but not at all browned – sweated actually, if you want to be technical about it. Keep an eye on them, and get off the heat if they start to brown.You want them to look like this – set aside. Cut 4 ounces of very sharp cheddar in cubes.When the veg is drained, put in a bowl.Mash ‘em up.Or use one of these handy little deals – I was starting to get into a serious “losing the light” crunch, so I ended up using the immersion blender – ordinarily, I use the masher though.Give it a little splash of buttermilk to add a little more creaminess and zip.Gently fold in the onion and galic and the cheese – you want it to be a rough mixture, not really uniform. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.Sprinkle a little chopped parsely and more freshly ground pepper over the top.It went very well with our dinner of grilled pork chops and warm rice and mushroom salad – I could sit down with the whole bowl and a spoon though – but that would just be rude.

This entry was posted in recipes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Rutabaga Cheddar Mash

  1. Kate says:

    I came here as soon as I saw rutabagas. You see, I have a particular penchant for this golden vegetable and could eat only this as an entire meal. Fantastic way to serve it. I honestly cannot wait to try this.
    And you are so right about either loving or hating it.

  2. Donalyn says:

    Kate – hope you guys love it. So easy and it would probably be a good meal all alone – lots of your major food groups in there!

  3. carlac says:

    I’ve always been tempted to try them when I see them in the store and never have. Maybe now I will – you make them sound really good.

  4. Janis says:

    My mom has always sliced them, rolled them in bread crumbs, and then fried them in a little butter. I love them fixed that way. And I think I would love them fixed your way, too. They look really, really good!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am going to try those. Since my surgery, I really crave vegtables. I hope I can find some here. They look alot like turnips and I like those. However, I won’t attempt to grow my own.;)


  6. Maria says:

    Great post. I need to add these to our dinner menu soon!

  7. Frenchie says:

    This looks fantastic, I have some frozen rutabaga that i haven’t known what to do with. It looks like I know what to do with it now. Thanks for the recipe idea!

  8. Miriam says:

    Great recipe, I’ll definitely try it.
    Go ahead and plant some though as they are so easy to grow from seed.
    Honestly, I feel as though I just threw the seed on the ground last year and every single seed sprouted!!! I had to keep thinning them. A very low maintenance, forgiving vegetable for your garden.

  9. bijoubug says:

    This looks like a wonderful new recipe for what my Aunt always called an educated turnip! I also love them quartered up and cooked in with carrots and potatoes in a beef roast. Thanks, I can’t wait to try this out!

  10. Donalyn says:

    Thanks carla – let me know if you end up liking them, ok?

    Janis – I can’t think of anything that isn’t improved by rolling in breadcrumbs and frying in butter :)

    RA – they should take care of cravings – very rich and satisfying.

    Thanks Maria – hope your family loves it.

    Frenchie – do you freeze rutabaga raw or cooked? Cooked I would think – most hard vegetables like this don’t freeze real well.

    Miriam – thanks! They are on thelist for this year – we just gotta pull them up while they are small. We intentionally plant beets close together and eat the thinnings all summer long. Sounds like we could do the same with these.

    bijoubug – educated turnip – I love it!

  11. Draco says:

    That looks so delicious. I generally use rutabagas in a gratin w/ turnips, cabbage, & potatoes, but I’ll definitely have to try this recipe out. It would look really great in my shamrock coloured Fiesta serving bowl.

  12. Donalyn says:

    Thanks Draco – I think everything looks good in Fiestaware!

  13. Anonymous says:

    This looks fabulous and I’m definitely going to try it soon. I love roasted root vegetables seasoned with fennel seed and other herbs, and I always include rutabagas, as well as your dreaded turnips and parsnips. They all become so sweet and take on an entirely different character with the fennel. I grew turnips for the first time this year and the cool weather makes them sweet and crunchy, nothing like what I’ve had in the past. Thanks for the recipe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>