Grey days and rain put me in the mood for roasted vegetables. For one thing, they're easy to make. All you need to do is pick your favorite vegetables. I wanted rutabaga, and what could be better to pair it with than carrots and sweet potatoes?
More and more in the Northwest, I can find local sweet potatoes at the markets. This is a picture of the sweet potatoes I found last year.
I was shocked to find sweet potatoes almost a dollar a pound less this year--$1.50 a pound. I mean seriously, nothing goes down in price at the grocery store, so this lower price was amazing. Local sweet potatoes might just be a better bargain than store bought.
Sweet potatoes and yams were originally cultivated in South America and throughout the Pacific Islands. They were a dietary staple by the time Columbus arrived in the West Indies. The varietes called "yams" are really just another sweet potato with a higher water content. The sweet potatoes at the farmers' market look and taste a lot like jewel yams.
Sweet potatoes weren't grown much locally in the Pacific Northwest until about 5 years ago when more farmers began branching out and growing specialty crops. The season for sweet potatoes is October through March, and they're a welcome sight at markets in the winter.
I bought enough to make treats for the dogs, which always thrills my Cooking Assistant.
|Slice and roast at 200F. for about 8 hours for chewy dog treats.|
The sweet potato and carrot add a sweet balance to the roasted rutabaga. You could add an onion and it would be even sweeter when roasted.
Rutabagas don't get much love, even from so-called "vegetable lovers." Sometimes mistaken for a turnip, rutabagas do look similar to turnips, but these roots are a bit sweeter, with purple tops. And like turnips, rutabagas contain Omega 3 oils.
Still, you never see long lines for rutabagas at the market like you would for eggs or beef.
And no matter what, rutabagas can be a hard sell. You just can't convince everybody that rubabagas are just as good as carrots or sweet potatoes. At least not until you roast them.
If you aren't a fan already, try roasting them and see for yourself.
The secret is in how long you cook them. Roast rutabagas for a long time and they become very sweet.
Spicy Roasted Balsamic Rutabaga, Sweet Potatoes and Carrots
(Serves 4 to 6)
Roasting is a great way to get to know rutabagas. Root vegetables become sweeter the longer they roast. I roasted these, then put them on a low heat in the oven until the rest of the meal was done.
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large carrot, sliced
1 medium sweet potato, cut into small bite-size chunks
2 rutabaga or turnips, medium dice
1 onion, sliced (optional)
Hot sauce, like Brother Bru Bru's
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine vinegar, oil, and garlic powder.
Place vegetables in a bowl and pour vinegar and oil over them and stir, coating all vegetables. Spread on a baking sheet, in one layer. Put vegetables in the oven and roast for one hour, stirring once or twice. All vegetables should be very tender.
|My Cooking Aasistant is about to change his mind about rutabagas.|