Rutabagas provide plenty of flavor when prepared simply in chunks with basic cooking methods. These large roots resemble turnips and feature a white bottom, purple top and yellow flesh. Rutabagas have a mild, sweet flavor and texture similar to turnips or potatoes. You can use them in nearly any recipe developed for root vegetables, or you can experiment with your favorite seasonings.
Rutabagas require thorough washing like most root vegetables. Scrub the outside with a vegetable brush under cool water to remove any soil on the surface. Although the skin is edible, it's usually peeled with a vegetable peeler to remove the waxy coating. Trim off the stems and root ends with a clean knife, then cut the rutabagas into 1-inch cubes, as desired. Cutting them into smaller pieces helps them cook more quickly.
Boiling results in a cooked rutabaga that's similar in texture to a potato. Bring a pot of water, lightly salted if desired, to a full boil and add the rutabagas. Boil the rutabagas until they are fork tender, which usually takes 10 to 15 minutes for cubes. After boiling, drain the rutabagas and toss them with melted butter, salt and pepper before serving, if desired.
Roasted rutabagas develop a deep flavor and tender interior. You can roast them alone or with other root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the rutabagas with your preferred cooking oil and spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast them for about 15 minutes, turn them over, then roast for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are tender with a golden exterior.
Boiled rutabagas mash well with a bit of butter, milk or broth. Serve these as you would mashed potatoes with a pinch of salt and pepper, chives or dried sage stirred in. You can also combine mashed rutabagas with potatoes or mashed carrots. For roasted rutabagas, consider seasoning them with garlic, lemon juice, oregano or even a light drizzle of honey to complement their natural sweetness. Crumbled bacon or a smoky cheese, like gouda, mixed in with boiled or roasted rutabagas plays up their more savory characteristics.
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