A while back I asked a question on Facebook. I asked how many of my followers (you guys) ate rutabagas. To my surprise, most of you were unfamiliar with this glorious plant. Well, that has got to change!
Rutabagas are absolutely wonderful! Yea, they can look a little strange at the grocery store, and don't really come with any cooking instructions - but that's where this post comes in...
Rutabagas are technically a cross between turnips and cabbage. They have a beautiful golden color when cooked, and taste very similar to a turnip - just a little bit sweeter. With almost half the carbs and calories, rutabagas can also make a good substitute for potatoes in many dishes, when you might be looking to cut back. This amazing little root vegetable tastes great, is easy to prepare, and is fairly inexpensive. It has been a Southern favorite for years.
And for those of you that would like to grow these little babies at home... Don't throw out the green tops. You can prepare the leafy sections just like turnip greens & they taste great! I have no idea why stores and farmer's markets don't carry them. (For more information about growing rutabagas, Bonnie is a good place to start.)
For this post I'm going to stick to the root portion, since, that is what is readily available in most areas. They can range in size from a softball, to usually more like a volleyball. This is what they look like in the store:
Here's my favorite way to prepare them...
- About 4 - 5 cups chunky cut Rutabaga
- 2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
- 1 tsp Garlic Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Tony's (see picture)
- 3 Tbs Butter (or margarine)
The first step is to peel off all of the rind (and the wax coating that they put on them for commercial sales). Be sure to trim the ends as well. Then cut the remaining root into chunky (1 1/2 inch) cubes. You do not have to be exact with this. Place them into a pot and cover the pieces with water.
Add in the chicken bouillon, garlic salt, black pepper, and Tony's.
Boil uncovered, until a knife inserts pretty easily into the rutabaga pieces. (The amount of time can vary depending on the age of the rutabaga, and the size of the cut pieces, but usually around 40 minutes.) Add water as necessary to keep a good level in the pot.
Once tender, drain the rutabaga, and return it to the pot. Gently, stir in the butter. (It will coat the hot rutabaga pieces as it melts.)
Makes about 4 - 6 servings.
Rutabagas are perfect alongside most any Southern style meal.