Monday, January 21, 2013

Roasted Balsamic Rutabaga, Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

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.


Joan said...

This sounds delish! I love roasted vegies and will definitely try the addition of balsamic in the mix!
Great idea!

Miz Helen said...

Hi Debra and Finn,
Now Finn you leave me some of this awesome dish. We just love Roasted Veggies and this is a great combination. Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for sharing your tasty recipe with Full Plate Thursday.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen