Rutabaga’s are pretty under-appreciated, if you ask me. They are a root vegetable and a member of the brassica (cabbage) family. They can be used in almost any application you’d use a potato, but they are less starchy and have about half the calories. Because they are lower in starch, you can puree them in a food processor or beat them in a stand mixer without making glue, as you would with a potato. They grow easily, are versatile to cook with, are not much bothered by pests and overwinter well in the Maritime Northwest. And yet they do not seem to be grown or eaten nearly as much as they should.
|Rutabaga waiting for harvest in the winter garden|
Perhaps it is their appearance: decidedly humble. Perhaps it is the flavor: sweet but not carrot or parsnip-sweet, with a hint of earth and a slight mineral bitterness. Perhaps, like so many humble foods, it is simply an association with poverty that turns people blessed by the bounty of choice away from the rutabaga. In any event, the rutabaga is one root vegetable that deserves more love.
Makes about 8 servings, as part of a larger meal
- 1 large or 2 medium rutabaga, scrubbed, peeled and large diced
- 1 head caulflower, chopped into large pieces
- Approximately 4 fl oz. (½ cup) half-and-half (whole milk, cream or stock may also be used, as available)
- 4 oz (1 stick) butter, softened
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste