Rutabaga, celeriac, and leek mash (vegan, gluten-free)
By Reeve Gutsell
If you want to really jazz up your Thanksgiving meal, this very simple recipe provides a great variation on the same-old, same-old mashed potatoes theme. Far more complex in flavors than standard mashed potatoes, this combination of celeraic, rutabagas, and leeks will have your guests asking for your secret. Best thing – it’s really easy!!
What the heck are these vegetables, you ask? Well, if you think “celeriac” sounds like “celery”, you’re right. Celeriac, also slightly mis-named as celery “root” (because what you are actually eating is the hypocotyl, not the root) is indeed a form of celery. Highly under-utilized in much of the U.S., celeriac is used widely in the Mediterranean, northern Europe, and Puerto Rico. It is most often used in soups, casseroles, and mashes. As with stalk celery, the sharp “celery” flavor mellows when cooked, so don’t worry that, with such a large vegetable, your mash is going to get overwhelmed with celery flavor – it won’t.
Rutabagas originated as a cross between a turnip and a cabbage; if you have trouble visually distinguishing between turnips and rutabagas, that’s why. (Hint: turnips are usually smaller.) Unfortunately for rutabagas, they developed a bad reputation during World Wars I and II, in part because they were sometimes the only thing available to eat during periods of starvation. For this reason, many people developed negative memories of this food, and subsequently passed on their distaste to future generations. This maligned vegetable, however, is quite tasty and high in nutrients, and is incorporated into many traditional recipes in Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Scotland, and the U.K. Like many root vegetables, if stored appropriately, rutabagas can last for months.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
1 rutabaga, peeled and diced small
1 celeriac, peeled* and diced small
1 leek, sliced thinly
salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the diced rutabaga and celeriac and boil approximately 10 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
In the meantime, saute the leek slices in olive oil until tender, approx. 2 minutes. Set aside.
When the celeriac and rutabagas are done boiling, drain them in a colander. Rinse out the pot and return the vegetables to it. Mash thoroughly with a fork or potato masher**. Mix in the salt, pepper, and leeks. Serve hot.
* Celeriac can seem knobbly , intimidating, and hard to peel. The best strategy is to skip the peeler and use a knife to remove the top and the bottom, and then slice off the sides. Visual instructions can be found here.
** This makes a chunky version – if you want a smoother version, put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. You may need (or want) to add water, milk, and/or cream, both for flavor and to help the machine function properly.