Root of Goodness
I grew up eating rutabagas and have always loved the sweet, unique taste. We always added a pinch of sugar, a hot pepper, salt, pepper and lots of bacon to the pot before simmering them away for hours until, well, you ended up with a chunky mush.
Things haven’t changed too much in the way I cook them now except I like to roast them prior to moving them to the stove-top. The sweet natural sugar seems to come out more pronounced doing it this way. I add the sugar of course to aid in the roasting process and the vinegar just ’cause I like the ‘pepper sauce’ taste. Doing it this way, I get the best of both – soft, creamy chunks with a roasted caramelized taste. Enjoy!
Southern Style Roasted Rutabagas
5 to 6 pounds rutabagas (3 medium-to-large)
Salt, black pepper to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 slices chopped smoked bacon, optional
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
splash of cider or wine vinegar
1 to 2 cups cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice away the outer peeling and wax coating of the rutabagas removing any green coloration from the root vegetable. Slice into 1-inch slices and then into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large roaster and toss with the salt, pepper, sugar and olive oil.
Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour. Toss the rutabagas around every 15 minutes.
Cook the bacon in a large stockpot until brown and grease rendered. Add a cup of chicken stock for firm rutabagas or 2 cups for softer, the jalapeño, vinegar and bring to a boil. Add the rutabagas and simmer on low for about 1 1/2 hours stirring every so often or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Note: Some folks like to add butter at the end of cooking rutabagas. Sometimes I add chopped pickled jalapenos instead of the fresh pepper and vinegar.