butternut squash rutabaga puree

Rutabagas fall into the neglected veggie category with turnips and parsnips. They all seem to be in every supermarket in the produce section, but how many people actually pick them up? Ever seen one of them in the frozen veggies section, for example? That's the real test of wide acceptance. However, there must be a rutabaga-turnip-parsnip buying public out there somewhere or these guys would be history quick the way the market mechanism works. We occasionally grab them to add flavor to mashed potatoes, based on suggestions planted by numerous cooking mags, but have not yet risen to the level of getting them as a primary ingredient. Only so much time in life for experimentation, which modern American society seems to minimize for these activities.

Rutabagas came up in a web recipe search for how to improve that bright orange squash puree that seems only to remain a distant memory from bob's childhood. For the first/last Thanksgiving of the new millennium, depending on whose millennium marker you choose. Butternut squash makes up the orange mash, but resists achieving that state by an armored protective covering. Having peeled one once, bob decided to go instead with the instructions on the little sticker glued to the skin: cut in half lengthwise and place cut side down on a sheet in the oven. However, cutting them in half is quite tricky if you don't want to risk losing any of your favorite fingers. Bob used his Magic Knife, basically just a bread knife with an optional attachment not needed for this purpose, but cutting down into the rock hard flesh was not an entirely comfortable little job. Be careful.

So looking for a little more flavor, another web hit suggested adding some onion, so why not throw in some garlic at the same time? Nutmeg seems to be the universal spice in these recipes, where the discriminating feature of our search was excluding brown sugar or other sweeteners—this stuff is already too sweet for us as it is. Experimenting with the "to taste" elasticity in the spice factors seemed to lead to a tasty combination, although bob did his usual nervous bystander act when ani started dumping in the salt with her usual enthusiasm.

Oh yeah... when bob got sold on a European super ironing board and iron at Bloomies, he had to spend a couple extra bucks to qualify for the extra steep discount, and so picked up a nifty Good Grips potato hand masher. The dr bob kitchen had never had any hand potato masher, but the wimpy steel wired beaters of the electric beaters these days don't seem to efficiently mash root vegetables and after lamenting this fact for a decade, bob was glad to have the opportunity to remedy this omission. The old approach turns out to be the winner hands down. And although the Good Grips version is a short squatty looking thing with a top horizontal grip instead of a normal vertical utensil grip, it seems to work better than bob's memory of the traditional design. Of course bob's memory is not that reliable.

ingredients

3 medium actually a bit smallish butternut squash, sliced in half lengthwise
1 large rutabaga, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 onion, chopped finely
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 t nutmeg or more (or less) to taste
1 t salt or more (or less) to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Like doing potatoes, peel the rutabaga and chop roughly to boil in salted water (to just cover) until tender, maybe 20 some minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the squash lengthwise and arrange on a baking sheet with an edge to catch the liquid that will escape. Put in the oven for about 45 minutes.
  4. Then clean and chop up the onion finely and saute it until soft, adding in the pressed garlic at the end.
  5. Remove and cool the squash a bit so you can handle them with your hands.
  6. When cool enough, scoop out the flesh with a large spoon or flatish ice cream scoop and place in a large bowl. Mash them with a hand potato masher.
  7. Drain the rutabagas and mash them with a potato masher.
  8. Then incorporate the onions and rutabagas with the masher, mixing them up.
  9. Then mash in the spices, tasting for effect.
  10. When satisfied, place in a casserole dish where they may be served or saved for a later reheating, like when doing this the day before Thanksgiving.

notes

  1. If you don't have a hand potato masher, go with whatever you have.
sqrtbgap.htm: 9-aug-2001 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]