Rooting for Rutabaga!

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Rooting for Rutabaga!

Thanksgiving Sides with Chef Vivian Howard

So what do you do with a rutabaga? Even saying the word somehow feels funny, but the rutabaga is not some strange being, yet merely a member of the cabbage family, often confused with a turnip, but very different. Rutabagas are larger, part white and part purple, with creamy orange flesh and ribs near the stem, and with a sweet flavor when roasted. Meanwhile, turnips are white with a purple-red top and a peppery taste.

Nutty and sweet with a mild turnip-like flavor, rutabagas can be roasted, sautéed, baked, fried, boiled, mashed, and added to soups and stews. They also can be eaten raw as a snack or grated into salads or coleslaw. A mix of mashed rutabagas, potatoes, onions and carrots, seasoned with butter and salt, is a warming dish.

The rutabaga like other members of the cabbage family is high in antioxidant and anti-cancer compounds. However the rutabaga’s most significant nutrient comes from vitamin C. One cup contains 53% of the daily recommended value, providing antioxidants and immune system-supporting functions. Beta-carotene-rich rutabagas are also an excellent source of potassium and manganese (for energy), and a good source of fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6 (helps support the nervous system), calcium (for strong bones), magnesium (helps absorb calcium and combat stress), and phosphorus (helps metabolize proteins and sugars).

Speaking of root vegetables and sides, you will not want to miss a visit this Saturday, November 22nd at the Lenoir County Farmers Market, where the market is hosting our very own Chef Vivian Howard from “A Chef’s Life” and Chef and the Farmer Restaurant. Vivian will be doing a demo featuring “Thanksgiving Sides” from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Also visiting the Farmers Market and Herritage Street business will be Sheri Castle, author of the Southern Living Community Cookbook, Celebrating Food & Fellowship in the American South. Sheri will be selling these cookbooks and signing them beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Barbaro’s located on Herritage. You may stop in at Barbaro’s and pre order your copy!!

The health benefits and these easy to cook recipes should have you “rooting for rutabagas”!

Golden Rutabaga Sunset
1 large rutabaga, about 3/4 pound, peeled and coarsely shredded
1 medium yam, about 1/2 pound, peeled and coarsely shredded
1 medium onion, sliced vertically into half moons
1 large leaf kale, rib discarded, chopped into bite size pieces or 2 small bulbs baby bok choy, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup raisins
Pinch cayenne
Salt and pepper

Garnish
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 sprig fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil)

Combine the rutabaga, yam, onion, and kale in a large deep skillet. Add the water and cook and stir over high heat for 4 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to cook the vegetables and prevent burning.
Add the raisins and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl or platter and garnish with the green onions and herbs. Yield: 5 to 6 servings

Root Ragout
3 medium rutabagas, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 large or 6 small parsnips, peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper

Because cooking times are different, steam each vegetable separately, testing for softness with a fork. To steam the rutabagas, put them in a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan, cover with water, and cover the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and steam.

Follow this same process for the sweet potatoes and parsnips. Rutabagas require about 10 to 12 minutes. Sweet potatoes take about 7 to 10 minutes. The parsnips will cook in about 5 to 7 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a large bowl, reserving the cooking waters.
Using a potato masher, mash the vegetables together. Add 2 or more tablespoons of cooking water as needed to create a chunky or creamy mashed potato consistency as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Yield: 6 servings
Rutabaga “Hash Browns”
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and grated
1 large zucchini, trimmed and grated (you can leave the skin on)
1 medium parsnip, peeled and grated
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (mix of parsley and fresh dill; cilantro is also nice)
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1/2 cup vegetable broth or stock
fine sea salt, to taste
If you have a food processor, now is the time to use it: grate the rutabaga, zucchini, parsnip and onion using the medium grater blade. Otherwise, grate all the vegetables on the medium holes of a box grater.
Place the grated vegetables, herbs, garlic and oil in a large nonstick fry pan (a cast iron pan is great for this recipe). Pour the broth evenly over the top and stir to mix. Turn the heat on to medium-high and allow to cook until the mixture begins to sizzle and cook on the edges, 10-15 minutes. Stir the vegetables to distribute any browned bits evenly throughout.
Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium-low. Allow to cook undisturbed another 10-15 minutes, then check to see if the veggies have begun to form a brown crust on the bottom. If they have, stir once more and then cook again another 10-15 minutes, until cooked throughout and crusty in spots. Scoop and serve. Makes 6-8 servings. May be frozen.

Rutabagas with Caramelized Onions

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

1 3/4 pounds onions, halved, thinly sliced

2 1/4 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces

2 tablespoons honey

 

Melt 5 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté until brown, 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook rutabagas in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add rutabagas; sauté until heated through, about 10 minutes. Drizzle honey over. Gently stir in onions. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at