I can’t say I’ve cooked a whole lot with rutabagas, but it’s one of those words that is fun to say, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, this cabbage-turnip hybrid doesn’t get a lot of respect. I mean, I can’t say I’ve ever met anyone that was excited about rutabaga season. I imagine this is because most people have only had them prepared one way – boiled until completely void of any texture, taste, or nutrients.
Case in point, as I’m unloading my produce in the checkout lane last week, the lady ringing up my groceries picks up my rutabaga and begins to examine it.
“What is this?”
Says The Husband enthusiastically, “It’s a rutabaga.” He thinks rutabaga is fun to say too. He was just hoping the checkout lady would ask so he could say the word rutabaga.
The checkout lady raised her eyebrows and lets out a, “Hmmph. It’s been a long time since I had rutabaga. I remember eating it when I was a little girl and I’d go over to my grandmama’s house.”
“I’ve never had it,” The Husband piped up.
“Really?” Then she looks at me. “You must know how to prepare it then.”
I was caught a little off guard because before this recipe I had never actually cooked a rutabaga. But before I could answer, The Husband says, “We read it’s a healthier alternative for potatoes.”
The checkout lady laughed. “Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve had rutabaga, but it sure don’t taste like no mashed potato.” Well, geez . . .
Truth is, once you get to know rutabagas, they are actually quite friendly. They are LOADED with nutrients, easy to store, keep for a long time, and if you are on a low-carb diet, really do make an excellent alternative to mashed potatoes. The texture more closely resembles a potato – more so, I think, than cauliflower. They are also slightly sweet which I think only enhanced the flavor of the dish once you combine it with the rest of the ingredients. Finally, they are very filling. The first time I made this I cooked it in a slightly larger ramekin and The Husband and I could only eat half. These 6 oz. ramekins were just enough.
I only wish I could have taken one of these ramekins to the checkout lady at the grocery store. Grandmama obviously never prepared them like this.
- 2 small rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 green onions, sliced, divided
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar, grated, divided
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place rutabaga in a large microwavable bowl. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the bowl. Cover loosely with a lid or plastic wrap and microwave on high about 3 minutes. Stir the rutabaga, cover again, and microwave for 4 more minutes or until rutabaga is fork tender.
- Mash rutabaga using a potato masher or ricer. (I prefer a ricer or running it through a food mill a couple times to get out all the lumps.)
- Add the bacon, butter, garlic powder, and heavy cream. Add the green onions and cheese, reserving a small amount of both for garnishment. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the rutabaga mixture into (4) six-ounce ramekins. Top each with reserved cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until the cheddar on top is melted and bubbly.
- Garnish with reserved green onion, if desired.