Rutabaga, yellow turnip, swede, neeps, tumshie whatever the name, it’s one of those vegetables that’s a love it or leave it choice. There really isn’t a middle ground with turnips, while some start watering at the mouth with the smell of them cooking, others run from the room.
The general consensus is the best way to serve is to mash. The secret is to cut the rutabaga up into equal size pieces. Not an easy task as it is a fairly dense root, but a good large sharp knife will do the trick.
The easiest way to peel is to cut into quarters and use the knife to slice the waxy skin off, there is a pithy layer that is slightly bitter just under the skin so don’t be afraid to take a good slice off. Cutting into quarters gives you 2 flat surfaces to place onto the cutting board, slice around the bottom of the quarter then turn over and do the same to the other edge. You now have only to slice the center of the quarters to peel all the waxy layer off. Then cut into 1/2 cubes, being careful to watch your fingers as you slice.
Take a large pot with salted water and bring the water up to a boil, add the rutabaga and boil until fork tender. Drain, add butter and a little salt and pepper and mash. It’s that simple.
If you have a good stand mixer with a paddle blade it will do a great job of the mashing. They do get better if they sit overnight and are rewarmed the next day, simply put into a baking pan and heat with a few pats of butter on the top, serve hot.
There are of course other ways to serve. In Finland there is a casserole starring the rutabaga made for Christmas it adds milk breadcrumbs, molasses, egg, ginger,pepper, nutmeg and salt. Another way to serve is to combine with a few carrots in the mash or add sour cream, in fact the choices are endless. You can add with other winter root vegetables and roast or just oven roast by itself. Slice into very thin julienne to serve on a salad. Cut into small cubes it can be added to stews or pureed to thicken soups .
So the next time your in the grocery store, pick a couple up and give it a try. Add it to your repertoire.
Here are a few items to help with this recipe:
Wusthof Classic 12-Inch Cook’s Knife
KitchenAid KP26M1XNP5 Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer, Nickel Pearl
While I do find the aroma interesting, they will certainly never replace a nice slice of roast beef or turkey and I’m not that crazy about vegetables by themselves so 3 paws for the effort.