So sometimes when I'm bored, I go to the grocery store and pick out the strangest-looking vegetable that I can find that I have no idea how to prepare. This week's vegetable-adventure of the week? The rutabaga. Which, to me, sounds like a bad joke or something...like those jokes that use "Orange you glad..." Basically, the rutabaga was a culinary mystery to me. What does it taste like? Why does it resemble an abnormal growth? Why would one ever cook it on purpose? Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything helped answer some of my questions, though, describing the rutabaga as the "less attractive cousin of the turnip". Hmmm, doesn't sound too promising, huh?
So away I went peeling and chopping my rutabaga. Strangely, I found that it had wax all around it...maybe some strange method of preservation? After Google-ing, I found that my theory was correct. After rutabagas are harvested, they are dipped into hot wax for only a second, which keeps them fresh for a long time. Also, canning is another option if you are looking for another way to preserve your rutabaga harvest for those harsh winter months. :)
Not only is the rutabaga a pain in the bootay to peel, but you may, in fact, develop blisters or premature carpal tunnel from chopping it up. Believe me, if you threw a rutabaga at someone's head, it would leave a nasty lump and a pretty mean concussion, for that matter. Beware! This puppy is DENSE. Again, the question arose: why would anyone cook one of these Monstrosities on purpose? Not that I wasn't purposefully cooking or anything...heh.
Anyway, the recipe I used for my adventure was a mash of boiled rutabaga and carrots. Thankfully, I discovered a bag of ready-to-eat carrot sticks in my fridge, since I was all chopped-out after tackling The Monstrosity. After the veggies were tender, I transferred them to the mix-master, pureed them up, buttered, salted, and peppered...
And TA-DA! A surprisingly delish rutabaga-carrot mash! No joke, these were actually reallllly good, and they tasted a lot like sweet potatoes. Will I ever be found cooking rutabaga again? Most likely not. But at least they came out delicious. :)
Carrotabaga Mash Monstrosity
Adapted from "Carrots and Rutabaga Mash"...from foodnetwork.com
1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
1 lb. rutabaga, peeled and chopped
4 tbsp. butter, softened
salt and pepper
Boil carrots and rutabaga together until just soft. Drain, and smash together with mix-master or food processor, until pureed. Mix in butter, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to serving dish, and enjoy