Friday, August 10, 2012


When I was little, my dad and slightly older sister used to play a game. One would start:
"You're driving me nuts!"
Then the other would respond, "You're driving me ________________ (name of vegetable/fruit/legume/etc)!"
And it could go on a loooooong tiiiiime. "You're driving me coconuts!" "You're driving me turnips!" "You're driving me cashews!"

The penultimate response, though, which my dad always graciously left to my sister, was "You're driving me RUTABAGAS!"

My dad thought it was hilarious. C was only two or so the first time she responded with this, and it was their special game forever after. Or at least it was for a while, then graduated into the category of "cute family baby story that gets told over and over ad nauseum". But my dad never stopped finding it funny.

I have never tried a rutabaga before. I always assumed they were mythical vegetables that were the quintessential "for display only" items in the supermarket whenever anyone did find some. It never occurred to me that anyone would actually consider eating them, much less enjoy doing so.

My views have changed.

I bought a nice, big, beautiful rutabaga for the first time on Wednesday.  I have been stalking rutabaga recipes on pinterest for the last week, determined to try making them in something, and even more determined to actually like them when I did so.

My first, ill-fated attempt on Wednesday was to put them in a (very expensive) lamb roast. In the crockpot. I assumed it would smell and taste delicious. I have always liked lamb very much when I have ordered it in restaurants, as well as the handful of times that my wonderful hubs has grilled it here at home. I have found that there is a way to prepare it that I do not like. And that is to roast it in a crockpot. So that the whole house will be permeated with the stink of boiling lamb. I did my best to just eat it anyway, but it was just too much. It made me feel like gagging. And don't even ask about the rutabaga in there with it. I think it might not have been as disgusting if I hadn't absolutely decked it out ornament-on-a-Christmas-tree style in fresh rosemary. The rosemary in double portion does not equal double good.

So, I burned several candles, strained the broth out, set the vegetables aside for David to eat later (he thought they were okay, and more power to him), and then rinsed the stewed lamb of all the last vestiges of its rosemary decorations and put it in the fridge to try and revamp later. Last night I resurrected it in the form of a Persian stew over rice with turmeric, garlic, and curry, and it wasn't too bad. All the crockpot action, though, had me craving a real roast, and my determination over the rutabagas was begging me to try them again in a recipe that I already knew we loved.

So, tonight I tried again. We dug a beef roast out of the freezer from our store of beef from David's PawPaw. PawPaw is a real gem- every year he buys three or four calves, turns them out to pasture for a year, and then butchers them and divides the meat amongst his children and grandchildren. So, each year we get about 50-60 pounds of beautiful, organic, delicious beef cuts (ground meat, sirloin steaks, ribeye steaks, roasts, etc.)

After it defrosted overnight last night I dressed it up with some beef boullion, garlic, and salt and stuck it in the crockpot this morning. After taking David to work, I went by the store and bought about 4 pounds of baby carrots and two medium rutabagas. I was tempted by the leeks, but they did me wrong in the lamb roast two days prior, and I haven't forgiven them yet. Anyway, I brought home my root vegetables, cut them up, and added them to the pot.

After about 7 hours in the pot, it was finally time to give them a second go for a taste test. And they were DELICIOUS! I was impressed at how succulent they were, and how well they absorbed the flavor of the roast. They have a texture very similar to a potato, but don't have the same amount of starch and carbs as potatoes. I think I am hooked. Oh, and David loved them too.

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