What the #*^% is Rutabaga?

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Walking past the produce aisle at the grocery store, I saw a vegetable I had only heard of, never seen. Entranced, I inched closer. Nestled between carrots and beets, it was nothing spectacular. Its misshapen, bulbous visage was covered in dirt and the roots on one end gave away its subterranean origin. But it was something new and so, of course, it had to be tried. So I bought some along with some Golden Beets with no idea of what I was going to do with them.

First a word about Rutabaga (pronounced Root-a-bay-ga) – considered a cross between a turnip and cabbage, it is a root vegetable. Very popular in the Scandinavian countries, it is considered a food of last resort in Germany and France. In the latter two countries, it is associated with food shortages during the World Wars where sometimes boiled Rutabaga was the only nourishment to be had.

The first thought was do do some kind of a slaw of winter veggies with Beets, Rutabaga and Carrots but that idea was ditched in favor of something simpler. I decided to roast the Beets and Rutabaga along with some carrots and serve the Vegetables with Polenta on the side.

The roasting itself was simple – the Beets and Rutabaga were peeled and cut into thick slices. The carrots were peeled and sliced thick. All the veggies were then tossed with some Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, and some Apple Cider Vinegar. The veggies were then roasted in the oven at 450F for 50 minutes (they were turned once, half way through). When done, the veggies were served with some Polenta.

The verdict? It was mixed. I liked it but the wife did not think much of Rutabaga. Daughter #1(the picky one) liked it. The Rutabaga had the crunch of a Turnip but with a slightly bitter aftertaste. As a side it works, but it would probably not be my first choice of veggies.

With Rutabaga under my belt, I am now off to explore Kohlrabi. Another one of the “only-heard-of-but-never-eaten” vegetables. Stay tuned for a report on that.

 

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