Viva La Rutabaga
Nigel Slater’s Rutabaga and Potato Cake
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Before this month’s challenge, I didn’t give much thought to the rutabaga. If it happened to show up in one of my late-season CSA shares - another burden of “farmer’s choice” - then I would add it to stews, soups, or roasts as just another root vegetable. In other words, I was using it for as a substitute for potatoes, not as something with distinct flavors of its own. Spurred by this month’s challenge, I found this from Nigel Slater. It isn’t difficult to make (assuming you have a mandoline), and I made only minor adjustments with excellent results.
Serve with a green salad (It went particularly well with some watercress from the Fair Food Farmstand).
Potato Rutabaga Cake
1 lb. potatoes, sliced thinly (with a mandoline)
1 lb. rutabaga, sliced thinly (with a mandoline)
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
7 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons mustard
2 teaspoons rosemary leaves, chopped finely
6 tablespoons chicken stock
Follow instructions as directed. However, I would make two suggestions. First, be sure to thoroughly dry the rutabaga and potato slices. Second, while Slater suggests that the potatoes and rutabaga can just be thrown in the pan, I would strongly recomend that you carefully layer them in the pan as though you were making a gallette. I find that the slices coalesce better as a true layered cake rather than a jumble.
Eating in the Raw
Thursday, February 23, 2012
When faced with rutabagas, a lot of people will fall back on what they know: mashing them. Now, mashed rutabagas are great and carry a lot of flavor, but you can also eat them raw.
Sliced rutabagas make a nice, crunchy snack all by themselves, but you can also use them raw in other ways.
The Putting Up With The Turnbulls website features a great recipe from Liana Krissoff’s book Canning For A New Generation, which gives you a way to preserve the rutabaga. This vegetable may be in season now, but what if you get a craving for rutabaga in July? Grab a can of pickled rutabaga (photo from Putting Up With The Turnbulls).
The pickling process is much like any other pickling recipe you might run into, but with the addition of cayenne, cumin seeds, and paprika. The result are puckery but delicious rutabaga pickles with a crunch.
Another great raw rutabaga recipe, Savoy Cabbage and Rutabaga Slaw, makes a fantastic accompaniment to a meal. Cabbage is another cool weather crop, which makes this slaw something that can be put together from almost all locally grown ingredients. In addition to raw cabbage and rutabaga, it also calls for walnuts, molasses, and vinegar—you can often find these at local markets, like the Fair Food Farmstand.
So are there benefits to eating raw rutabaga over cooked rutabaga? Yes. Cooking vegetables lowers the nutritional value in many cases. So during Rutabaga Challenge Month, embrace raw rutabaga.
Rutabaga Challenge: Rutabaga Beef Stew Over Couscous
Monday, February 13, 2012
Since February is Rutabaga Challenge Month, I’ve been looking for a special recipe. With the weather turning cold and sorta-kinda snowy recently (if you can call a dusting of flurries snow), I’ve been wanting stew. So hey, rutabaga can be made into stew, right?
I based this on a potato-beef stew, replacing the potatoes with rutabaga. The rutabaga, beef, beef stock, tomato paste, onion, and cayenne pepper can be sourced locally (or, in the case of the stock, paste, and pepper, made from locally grown ingredients). The result was a hearty, warming dish that fills you up.
1 lb. of beef cubes for stew (you can use strip steak or any cut of steak that doesn’t get too tough when cooked)
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1/2 of a large rutabaga, cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. of tomato paste
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, ground coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. of all purpose flour
3.5 cups beef stock
1 cup water, boiling
2/3 cup of couscous
Heat the olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat; brown beef on all sides. Remove the beef to a plate (note: the beef should not be cooked through—just browned). Add rutabaga, onion, paste, and spices to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Give it a stir every thirty seconds or so and cook for five minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir well for another minute. Add the stock and increase the heat to medium-high; bring to a boil and cook until the rutabaga is tender and the stock has thickened. This should take about fifteen minutes.
Add boiling water to couscous and let it steam.
Return the steak to the skillet with the rutabaga and onion. Decrease the heat to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes (until the beef is cooked through). Serve stew over couscous.
When you’ve got extra cayenne peppers coming out of your garden next year, consider making your own. There’s a great tutorial here.
Viva La Rutabaga!
Thursday, February 02, 2012
February is Rutabaga Challenge Month at Farm to Philly!
Let’s face it: rutabagas are fugly—they sort of look like waxy, oversized turnips…on a good day. Most people don’t know what a rutabaga is or what it’s used for, a theory I put to the test recently when I point-blank asked a handful of people to tell me about the root vegetable.
So what is a rutabaga? It is, indeed, related to turnips—it’s a cross between turnips and cabbage, and it’s an excellent vegetable that’s in season NOW. Sometimes you might seen it sold as a “yellow turnip.” They’re good for you, nutritionally speaking—lots of beta carotene, a good source of fiber, and you even get a nice boost in vitamin C, calcium, and iron. And they’re versatile: you can eat them cooked or raw. You can also eat rutabaga leaves.
No doubt you might be wondering why rutabagas are covered in a wax covering, right? It’s an issue of extending the vegetable’s storage life. Because rutabagas are not the most sought-after vegetable ever, grocery stores need to keep them from going bad. A wax covered rutabaga kept in the refrigerator will keep for up to two months. If you take special care of your rutabagas—stored at 32 to 35 degrees with 90 percent humidity—you can store unwaxed rutabagas for up to six months.
If you’ve always wondered how to cook a rutabaga or just want to prepare them in some different ways, be sure to check back at Farm to Philly throughout the month.