Thursday, November 22, 2007

Rue Des 'Bagas

Tomorrow I'm bringing rutabagas to the Thanksgiving potluck at St. Michael's. It takes a while to prepare them, so I took care of that tonight. I decided to take pictures of every step of the process to show you, in case that's less boring than it sounds. Here we go!

In recent years it's become hard to find a decent-looking rutabaga around here. They never quite look right to me somehow. Sometimes I end up with little runty, slightly wrinkled rutabagas, or colors just a little off what I think I remember, leading me to think I'm accidentally buying turnips. On Monday, though, Safeway's rutabagas confused me in a different way by being tough, overgrown giants. I have to say that they didn't look very appetizing.

First step, of course, is to peel them. This immediately made them look a whole lot better, more uniform and more like food.

Then I cut each one into eight chunks. This is much harder than the peeling, at least with the knives around this house. Rutabagas are much tougher to slice through than potatoes.

Here they go, into the soon-to-be-boiling water. Cooking time depends on the size of the chunks, how hot your water is and so on. I think I cooked these for about an hour, but I didn't really keep track. The idea is to boil or simmer them until a knife cuts through the pieces easily. Rutabagas aren't ever going to be as mushy as an overcooked potato, but you can get close to the consistency of a ready-to-mash one, and should.

By the time they finish boiling they're nice and yellow. I mashed these with a regular metal masher, a little butter, milk, salt and pepper. Don't ask me how much of each I added. I never measure. But you're going, again, for roughly the same consistency as mashed potatoes, so add the other ingredients accordingly. I suppose one could add cloves or something, but I never have and probably never will. You can also fluff them up a bit with a blender or mixer, but I seldom bother. I didn't this year.

Ideally, mashed rutabagas should be served with mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy. Rutabagas actually taste better mixed about half and half with mashed potatoes than they do alone. It's a fairly strong flavor, and cutting it with potatoes helps a lot.

Bedtime. I'm bringing the rutabagas to the church kitchen tomorrow reheated in the blue pot. They'll probably end up room temperature, but oh well. There will probably be gravy to heat them up again.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks! And good night!


Update: they liked them! Not everyone ate some, but several people mentioned loving rutabagas, and one or two had them for the first time. Yay!


Becky said...

Happy Turkey day to ya, m'dear.

Carly said...

Hi Karen

Happy Thanksgiving!I have never had rutabegas, but you have made them sound so good, I might just give them a try sometime. :) I am sure it will be an adventure. Tee Hee. Take care darlin.

Always, Carly

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving. I haven't had rutabagas in years, I will have to try them with mashed potatoes and gravy.

bea said...

Rutabagas... hmm, they look like turnips, only bigger, whiter. I wonder if they taste the same. I never liked the smell of cooking turnips, but I did like eating them after I became an adult. As a kid, I would retch to smell them in my mashed potatoes (mom would mix them into the potatoes, I guess, so we would eat them, as if we couldn't tell they were there. They even turned the potatoes that yellow color, so it was really hard to hide them from me, her oldest child. Sounds like you all had a magnificent feast at church. Let the holidays begin! bea