Have You Tried: Rutabagas?

Have you? Or have you just walked by the waxy little orbs of root vegetable thinking, “those purple turnips over there look awfully pretty” or “I guess I’ll just get more carrots, you can’t go wrong with carrots” or “Root vegetables? Where are the potatoes!?”

I can’t blame you, especially regarding stockpiling potatoes. And you really can’t go wrong with carrots. But! It’s time for the humble rutabaga to shine!

Rutabagas are tasty and they’re available in the middle of winter. According to Wikipedia, rutabagas originated as a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. Crazy! They’re sometimes called Swedes or Swedish turnips in Europe.  And you can cook them just about any way you would cook potatoes, but they add a little something different to the table.

Lovely rutabagas from Stoney Plains Organic Farm

I made 3 dishes using rutabagas. First, I made a rutabaga puree, which is essentially like making mashed potatoes except using rutabagas. Peel ’em, chop ’em, boil ’em, mash ’em with some butter and milk or broth.

Super simple, very tasty. A twist on the old mashed potatoes dish. This is delicious on it’s own, but would be very lovely over a bed of cooked kale or other winter green.

Of course, you could also roast your rutabaga alongside all your other favorite vegetables. Chop up all those potatoes you’ve been stockpiling, along with some carrots, parsnips, sunchokes, and so on. Toss them in  a little olive oil, salt and pepper (and maybe some thyme!) and roast them in a 400 degree oven for, say, 45 minutes or until soft.

Hearty!

But the rutabaga dish nearest and dearest to my heart is the pasty. I grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where pasties are a big deal.

The pasty deserves to be a big deal.

Anyway, I made them at home for the first time!

Just dice carrots, potatoes, onions and rutabagas and mix together. Traditional pasties have beef or sometimes venison, which you would also dice finely and mix with the vegetables, but I’m a vegetarian, so just the veggies for me.

Make some simple dough – I used a recipe from here. Roll out your dough, fill with vegetables, and crimp edges closed. Like so:

Transfer pasties to a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 65 minutes. Serve with ketchup. Yes, ketchup.

So, the next time you’re shopping at the farmers market, pick up a rutabaga or two. You can make a lot of tasty things with this unassuming vegetable.

Seriously, try making pasties, adding your favorite ingredients. It’s fun.

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8 Responses to Have You Tried: Rutabagas?

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  4. Sam says:

    I’ve never made a pasty before but the one you made looks incredible! It’s seriously making me reconsider my upbringing…

  5. Pingback: Buying seasonal at Eastern Market: Eat your (root) vegetables! « Learning from the Land of Smiles

  6. Hi! I’m trying to make pasties for the first time this weekend and found your blog when I googled “why rutabaga in pasty”! I think it must be for the flavor? Guess I’ll find out!

    I live in Indiana and had my first pasty at a snowmobile shack somewhere in the middle of UP snowmobile country (we weren’t snowmobiling, but my road trip companion told me I HAD TO HAVE A PASTY and pulled the car over when he saw a pasty sign). I’d never even heard of pasties before that, and kept thinking he was meaning to say “pastry”. We stood and ate our pasties and had a nice conversation with the store attendant. It was an excellent first-pasty experience, but it was several years ago. I’m not going to Michigan soon, so I want to try to make them myself at home. I’m doing my pasty research now… I love all the history and stories of pasties and the way they seem to be an enormously intimate thing for so many people, like my mom’s chili is for me. Comfort food I guess!

    Your blog is excellent!

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