Nothing describes rutabaga better. I think I was 25 before I tasted one, the name alone sounded strange enough for me to write off as “weird”, and looks… well, they won’t win a beauty contest. Rutabaga was something I’d only heard my grandmother speak of. Growing up on a farm, they’d eat them in soups or in a creamy gratin, along with turnips and squash all winter long.
Mashed rutabaga deserves a chance in your kitchen because I’m going to say it – they might just be better than mashed potatoes. A touch sweet, yet savory — like the richest golden potato you can imagine. But because they have less starch, they’ll never get gluey or pasty like spuds can.
Part of the brassica family, a rutabaga is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip (you’ll smell this when you peel away their purplish skin). They mash up beautifully with a golden color (quite bold compared to the bland white of potatoes), and have a soft, delicate flavor that goes strikingly well with a quick tomato confit nestled in the fluffy swoops.
Confit typically refers to meat, but it simply means slowly cooked in fat at a low temperature for a long time (up to two days), historically used as a way to preserve food. You can do the same thing with vegetables too, using Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes, letting them barely cook in olive oil, with garlic and oregano on the stovetop for thirty minutes.
I love how this turns a pantry staple (they’re the best canned tomatoes you can buy, going into the can just eight hours after being picked on California family farms and always in my cupboard) into a unique, gourmet addition to just about anything savory, but especially this mashed rutabaga.
I’ve become a rutabaga believer because of this dish, and it sure makes me want to discover more “humble” ingredients. Are there any that come to your mind? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do. Xo
This post is sponsored by Muir Glen, a partner I am so grateful to work with this year in our continued partnership, spreading the love for all things tomatoes.