New Food

November 12, 2010

RutabagaIf you are anything like me, you are thinking to yourself, “what the heck is that? A radish?” That, my friends, is a Rutabaga. A word I was familiar with, but a food I had never tasted or (honestly) been able to identify until yesterday.

Last night, I went out of my comfort zone and tried something new. I found a recipe in this month’s Martha Stewart’s Living for a rutabaga puree and decided to give it a try.

When I took the rutabaga out to start making the meal, I looked at it as though it were something left behind on the site of an alien invasion. I had no idea what to do with it. The directions were simple, “peel and coarsely chop.” Okay, but how? I did the only thing I could think of… I You-Tubed it. That is when I found this:

To my amazement, it is extremely easy to peel a rutabaga!

I had one naked rutabaga sitting in front of me and no clue how to chop it. Is there a pit? I know, now, that I should have been smarter than that. It is a root vegetable. Like a potato, or a carrot… there is no pit. I took a breath and pushed my knife right down the center and chopped it in half. The color was a pleasant creamy pale yellow. Not at all what I expected. I sliced and chopped the rutabaga until there was no more left to chop. A piece of it fell to the floor and my little dog came running over. She took a sniff of it and ate it and I thought, “well, Ellie likes it… how bad can it be?” The dog ate it raw!

The recipe called for shallots. I was out. Again… So I substituted for garlic and onion. After all, isn’t that really all a shallot is? You sauté the “shallots” and rutabaga in butter (I use I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter) until soft, add chicken stock, fresh thyme, salt and pepper, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. When it is all soft a mushy, you puree it with a couple tablespoons of mascarpone cheese.

The appearance was quite pleasant. I poured it into a serving dish and garnished it with a little more fresh thyme. It looked very pretty. It looked (and to be honest, tasted) like mashed sweet potato.

Rutabaga is kind of a mixture of sweet potato, carrots, and cabbage, in taste. It is a pretty strong flavor, so the recipe added the mascarpone in there to tone it down. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. Approval was won by all, husband, dog, and even the baby liked it! We finished the entire dish.

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