Buttered Rutabagas were a staple on our Thanksgiving / Christmas table when I was growing up and I’m revisiting them today ~ these delicious pale orange rutabaga are misunderstood and probably the most overlooked veggie.
TIRED OF MASHED POTATOES?
Some people have never had rutabaga in their entire life. It is a standard holiday dish in Finland known as lanttulaatikko . Last year at a Scandinavian dinner, my friend had mashed rutabaga for the first time. She loved it! So healthy and easy to make.
Some people mix RUTABAGA with turnips. Turnips are generally smaller and not as sweet as rutabaga. You may also find ‘all white’ turnips at your supermarket. Rutabagas have a pale orange bottom half compared to the white bottom half of a turnip.
SIDE DISH: I start cooking my rutabaga first, before preparing my main meal. This veggie is cooked on top of the stove 25-35 minutes before it is popped into the oven. OVEN TIME: 1 hour. If I have a big bird in the oven, I will center the bird in the oven and leave the rack below it for the rutabaga casserole which can be added in the last hour of cooking the bird.
6 cups of rutabaga (in Finnish, lanttu), peeled, washed and diced in large chunks
1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
3 tablespoons butter
(Preheat the oven to 350F)
1. PEEL, CUBE AND BOIL RUTABAGA in salted boiling water- until tender-drain and mash.
2. Soak the breadcrumbs in the cream and add nutmeg and beaten eggs. combine with the mashed rutabagas. Add mixture to a buttered 2 1/2 quart baking dish ( or individual dishes ). Bake for about 60 minutes or until golden brown.
TOPPINGS: Top with bread crumbs and butter nobs ( optional ) before the casserole goes into the oven. Before serving: Decorate with chives or chopped parsley.
Secret Ingredient: I always add garlic ~ not in the original recipe.
The traditional recipe from Finland adds heavy cream and dark syrup before the baking process. Add nutmeg ‘to taste’. It’s the most important ingredient.
To speed up the cooking time before mashing the rutabaga, use a microwave ( covered on high, add 1 cup of water 15-20 min. ) or pressure cooker ( 9 minutes) . Use several small baking dishes for freezer appeal. Add apple or carrots for sweetness. You can optionally add a crushed garlic and/or 2 cardamom pods in the boiling water. FOR ADDED ZIP, add spices: ginger, cinnamon or turmeric to taste.
Why are rutabagas (neeps, swedes) half purple? —They are a mix of wild cabbage and turnips. A portion of the plant grows above ground and changes colour from the sun.
(P.S. You can eat the green tops too – tastes a bit like spinach).
RUTABAGA has less than half the calories of white potatoes & sweet potatoes!
(1/3 the carbs.)
Here’s the picture from Michael (see comment below) of his rutabaga mash using ramekins. I would enjoy seeing pictures you have from your rutabaga dish and will add them to the post. Please email them to me: firstname.lastname@example.org