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Buttery Carrots and Rutabagas

My best advice is not to ignore this recipe just because it calls for a vegetable you may not be familiar with, namely rutabagas. I will admit that many supermarket check-out people are mystified when the large, unlovely rutabaga rolls up to their register. Dark purple-brown and usually coated with a layer of wax, the rutabaga does not have a lot of eye appeal. But didn't your mother tell you not to judge a book by its cover?

This is a great side dish any time, but particularly appropriate during the winter months and especially for the Holiday table. People will love it; just tell them it's carrots.
  • 4 to 5 good-sized carrots
  • 1 medium rutabaga (about the size of a large grapefruit)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
The process is a lot like preparing mashed potatoes. Wash and peel the carrots (or don't peel, if that's your style), and cut into one-inch chunks. Peel the rutabaga (see below), and cut into one-inch chunks.

Put the vegetables and 1 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer 30 to 40 minutes until carrots and rutabaga pieces are fork tender. Drain well, leaving the vegetables in the saucepan.

Add the butter, in pieces, to the hot, drained vegetables and return the lid to the pan. While you're doing something else, the butter will melt.

Once the butter is melted, add several generous grinds of fresh black pepper to the vegetables. You can either roughly mash them together with a potato masher, or just stir briskly with a stout spoon. Taste, and adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.
Makes about 10 servings.

Prep time: 20 minutes minutes; Cooking time: 30 minutes; Total time: 50 minutes
The serving dishes in our photograph are Fiesta dinnerware.

How to Peel a Rutabega

Peeling a rutabega can be a challenge. They are very hard and dense. You will need a sharp knife. They cannot be peeled like potatoes, and what you'll be cutting off is about a quarter inch of the outside surface. Just start in one spot and keep at it until all you can see is the golden flesh of the rutabaga. To cut it in chunks, first cut it in half with your largest, heaviest knife, and then work from there.

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