Friday, April 17, 2009

Introducing: The Rutabaga

Rutabagas are sweet, starchy root vegetables. They are the sibling of the turnip although they have yellow flesh. When you visit the grocery, it's hard to discern between them, they're almost twin siblings. Their sweetness is their most appealing attribute. They're not quite as sweet as a yam but are definitely sweeter than your average white potato. I started to incorporate rutabaga into my diet during my Chinese Medicine nutrition class at Bastyr. I knew they existed but had never cooked with them. According to Chinese Medicine, rutabagas have a warming nature and are good for promoting digestive Qi (pronounced chi) or energy. They are perfect in the winter time like most root vegetables, roasted, sauteed, stewed and in soups. Kids love them too.

Rutabaga and kale saute
Rutabaga pairs deliciously with kale. Try this quick and easy saute for a nutrient dense side dish that you can serve with chicken, fish, rice and other grains.

1 tablespoon unrefined extra-virgin olive oil
3 green onions, chopped
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 large rutabaga, chopped
1.5 cup kale, chopped
2.5 tablespoons cooking sake or mirin (Japanese rice wine)
Optional: 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari

Peel the skin off rutabaga with a carrot peeler and chop into thin rectangular pieces (1/8 inch thick) to accelerate cooking time. Bring saucepan to medium heat, then add olive oil. Saute 3/4 of green onions (save some for garnish) until soft and glistening. Add rutabaga and saute until brown and soft. Combine kale with rutabaga and add cooking sake. After vegetables absorb sake, reduce heat to low and remove from heat. Serve warm, with a splash of tamari and garnished with green onions.

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Makes 1-2 servings
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

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