Rootin' for Rutabagas

I’m always on the lookout for creative ways to prepare root vegetables during the cooler months. Rutabagas were developed as a cross between a cabbage and turnip. Both the root and leafy greens can be eaten.

Rutabagas are a versatile root vegetable and can be incorporated in stews, roasted, pureed, or sliced thinly and served in salads. They are an excellent source for Potassium, Calcium, and Vitamin C. I prepare them primarily with other roasted root vegetables, or sometimes as part of a stir fry after dicing.

It’s so big!

I’m always amazed at the size of the rutabagas in the local groceries. It’s a running joke in our house that you can’t buy a small rutabaga. The last one I purchased looked more like a cannonball and weighed in at a hefty 3.5 pounds which was more than adequate for today’s recipe. The peel is waxy and I honestly don’t know if that’s due to mother nature or applied as a preservative by the produce distributer.

Experimenting

I have never made Scalloped Rutabaga before and thought I would try this recipe out on my visiting family over the recent holidays. They like rutabaga as I’ve eaten it at their house before, so I figured why not. When asked for honest opinions, I was flattered that they wanted the recipe. In my book that means I have a good recipe on my hands.

We discussed other ways to modify the dish in order to use a bit less dairy, like toasted bread crumbs or ground nuts for the crust instead of cheese.

One thing I did learn from this recipe is that I either need to improve my knife skills, or use a mandolin when cutting up my rutabaga slices. The varying thickness of my slices yielded a few undercooked bits but we just worked around that. 

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and are getting into the Christmas Spirit. I know I am and will be preparing some party worthy food, and maybe even a few cookies or candies in the weeks to come.  Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well.

Spicy Scalloped Rutabagas with Parsley

Courtesy of Marcia Kiesel and Food and Wine

Serves 5

  • 2.5 LBS rutabagas, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • ¼ LB flat leaf parsley with large stems discarded
  • 1 ½ TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chicken stock or low sodium broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (more if you like cheese)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the rutabagas in batches until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rutabagas to a large baking sheet and let cool. Add the parsley to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Squeeze dry and coarsely chop the parsley.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add the shallots, jalapeno and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and cook over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and simmer over low heat until reduced by a third, about 8 minutes. Stir in the parsley and simmer until thickened, about 4 to 6 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Butter a 9 x 13 baking glass baking dish. Arrange half of the rutabaga slices in the bottom of the dish. Season with salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, cover the rutabagas with the parsley and pour half of the cream over the parsley. Top with the remaining slices and pour remaining cream over the top of them; pressing gently to even out the slices. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour, or until bubbling.

Position an oven rack 6-inches from the heat and preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the rutabagas and broil, rotating the dish as necessary, until browned, about 2 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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