Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Rutabaga Mash

In this country, the rutabaga is known as the Swedish turnip.  It grows best in a cold climate and this hearty and versatile root vegetable is an interesting change to pasta, rice, and even potatoes.  When grocery shopping the other day, I picked up a couple of round waxed Canadian rutabagas free of any signs of blemishes and rot.

Rutabaga is sown just as you would turnips.  Prepare the soil, add compost, and remove rocks and sticks to make a smooth surface.  I make a small trench to sow the seeds as directed on a package.  It is recommended that the sowing occur about a hundred days before the first frost in the fall.  You figure the weather.

A Swiss botanist noted in 1620 that the rutabaga grew wild in Sweden where it originated.  It is also said to have originated in Russia.  Anyway, here are a few suggestions on how to cook and serve the rutabaga.

I peeled my rutabaga and diced it finely to cut down on cooking time.  I opted to peel, dice, and cook potatoes in another pot because rutabaga requires a longer cooking time but they can certainly be cooked together (my preference).  If I have carrots available, I slice them up too and add to the mix.

Rutabaga by itself has a distinct taste and it may be toned down with potatoes.  Some people eat the rutabaga mash without additional roots.  The rutabaga mash is called rotmos in Swedish.

To mash the root vegetables together, I use an electric hand mixer.  I add some of the vegetable stock as needed.  To make this mash extra hearty, I add a pat or two of butter (margarine) and cream or whole milk.

If you have a lot of mash left over, make patties.  Mix about 1 and 1/2 cups rutabaga mash with 1 egg and add about about 3/4 cup of flour.  Make into patties and fry in canola oil on both sides until golden brown. Wonderful for breakfast served with a little syrup or lingonberries.

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