Friday, November 03, 2006

Mad for Rutabaga

A long time ago, I made fun of rutabaga in a kids book I wrote. It was a Twist-a-Plot story called THE MISSION OF THE SECRET SPY SQUAD. In one plot line, prisoners thrown into jail were forced to live on a diet of rutabaga. That was before I’d ever tasted that vegetable. I was going purely on how they looked–big and ugly and covered with wax to stretch their shelf life.

Funny thing, once I actually sank my teeth into a rutabaga, I was hooked. I love the taste of this winter vegetable. And I cook with it frequently.

Probably you’ve grated carrots and put them into salads. You can do the same with rutabaga. They add a distinctive flavor and a nice crunch to the salad bowl.
One of my favorite ways to use rutabaga is in roasted winter vegetables. For an easy side dish or vegetarian main dish, just fill a roasting pan with a combination of cut up red-skin potatoes, carrots, celery and rutabaga. Then toss with some olive oil, Italian seasoning and salt.

Since the rutabaga takes longer to cook than the other vegetables, I roast them in the pan for twenty minutes at 375 degrees F. before adding the other vegetables and roasting for an additional 40 to 50 minutes, stirring them occasionally until all the vegetables are tender. Serve as an easy side dish on Thanksgiving. Or with meat or roasted chicken at any family dinner.

I also love to add chunks of rutabaga to the homemade meat and vegetable soups that are a winter staple in my house.



Donna Lea Simpson said...

Your post is so timely for me!! I am just setting out this morning to grocery shop, and I'm going to take your advice and pick up a rutabaga... except, I think (hope) it's the same as what we call up here (Canada) a turnip.

Thanks for your advice, Ruth.

Now if I only knew what to do with a celeriac and the weird enormous radish that is languishing in my crisper...

Rebecca York said...

We call a rutabaga a "yellow turnip." It's larger and harder than a regular turnip. And it does have that wax coating.

MsIsis said...

Don't forget Rutabaga pie.... It's a bit sweet for me, but most in my family loved it!

corat said...

We call a rutabaga, a rutabaga I grew up on a farm in alabama. we had rutabugas all the time as a side dish cooked seasoned with salt
papper and butter. We also put them
in soups. I love them very much.
a new reader of your 43 light street books.