Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rutabaga Casserole, Kae’s

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, are members of the cabbage family; they get their name from their four-petaled flowers, which look like a crucifer, or cross. Other cruciferous vegetables include arugula, bok choy, collards, kale, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnip greens, and watercress.

The rutabaga is a root vegetable that looks very much like a turnip with yellow-orange flesh and ridges at its neck. Although this beta carotene-rich vegetable has been grown in the U.S. for 200 years, it is an uncommon but good tasting vegetable with a delicate sweetness and flavor. The rutabaga is easily prepared and has great nutrition. It was one of my mother’s favorite.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

2 ½ Pounds peeled rutabagas1 diced into ¼ cubes
1 Plus 2 teaspoons salt
¼ Cup dry bread crumbs
¼ Cup heavy cream
½ Teaspoon nutmeg
1 Teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
2 Eggs lightly beatened
3 Tablespoons soft butter
2 Tablespoons butter cut in tiny bits

Chopped parley and pinch of paprika

Cover 8 cups of diced rutabagas with just enough cold water to cover them. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and simmer until tender 15~20 minutes. Drain well. Cool a bit then add beaten eggs, cream, bread crumbs, 2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, (optionally brown sugar) and 2 tablespoons soft butter. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon of softened butter to butter a 2 ½ quart casserole dish. Fill casserole with mixture and dot top with butter and a few grinding of pepper. Bake uncovered at 350 F for 1 hour.

1.        Rutabagas are a yellow-fleshed vegetable cross between cabbage and turnip. Turnips have been growing wild in Siberia and eaten since prehistoric times. Turnips and rutabagas are mildest and more tender when they are of medium size or smaller (turnips should be 1 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter and rutabagas 2 ½ to 4 inches in diameter.) The best Rutabagas come from a northern climate where they grow slowly thus developing sweetness and flavor. Rutabagas and turnips were the root vegetable of war and Depression and are often considered by many chefs to be unworthy of appearing on the menu.

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