What to do with end-of-season bounty

Take it and Make it: Maine Style

Rooting for Rutabega: a garlicky mashed comfort side dish
Wed, 11/08/2023 - 11:30am

    Rutabaga. What do you do with this alien softball-sized thing?

    This is the kind of vegetable I’m likely to pass over at a farmer’s market, because it’s so unfamiliar, but it’s a fall/winter root vegetable that’s in season right now. It’s nutrient-packed, low-calorie, and high in antioxidants.

    The best part? One only cost .99. A side dish for a buck that could feed four people!

    But back to what to do with it—you just have to go on faith that if you peel it and cook it, it will taste good. I found a great, simple recipe that can be a comfort fall side dish or the perfect dish to bring to a potluck Thanksgiving.

    Mashed rutabaga with roasted garlic and browned butter

    • 1 rutabaga
    • 1 head of garlic
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons sour cream
    • 3 tablespoons light cream
    • 1/4 cup chicken bone broth
    • 1/4 cup white wine
    • Seasons: salt, pepper, fresh chives.


    All you have to do is peel it with a vegetable peeler and cut off the rough ends. Dice and throw in a big pot of salted boiling water. A rutabaga is just like boiling potatoes.

    After 30 minutes or so, it will be soft enough to drain. Then put back in the pot.

    While you’re doing that, cut off the top of a head of garlic and drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over the exposed garlic.

    Pop in the oven or toaster.

    By the time the rutabaga is done, the garlic will be roasted.

    Put the butter in a saucepan and simmer on low until the butter is browned. It adds a subtle nutty flavor to savory dishes, so stir that in first, then add half of the roasted garlic bulbs and mash well.

    On low heat, add the cream, and sour cream and stir.

    Then at the end, give a splash of bone broth and wine; continue stirring. Sprinkle some fresh chives over your dish.

    I made the side dish to go with a New England pot roast, in which I layered a thick chuck roast steak in a crockpot over new potatoes and carrots from the farmer’s market, along with half an onion.

    After eight hours, the pot roast was fork-tender and the mashed rutabaga was the star of the show. Its flavor with the savory butter and garlic was more interesting than bland old mashed potatoes, complementing the rest of the simmered vegetables. This is a two-night meal, saving money at the grocery store.

    The ease of this dish is that it is a perfect side to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck dinner—you’re guaranteed no one else will have garlicky rutabaga. A turkey gravy over it even elevates those flavors even more.

    If you’re in the Midcoast, check out Chase’s Daily, the restaurant on Main Street. Their back room doubles as an indoor farmer’s market with an eye-popping abundance of fall vegetables, herbs, and flowers for sale.

    Kay Stephens is a home cook with a penchant for recipes and a reporter for Penobscot Bay Pilot. Her dishes are decent enough, but not Instagram-worthy.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com