I Love Rutabaga Homefries, There I Said It

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It’s no crime to love rutabagas. So let me freely admit my passion for Rutabaga Homefries with Chilies, Mint & Maple.

Rutabagas are easy to lust after. So don’t judge me. I made mine a little sweet mixed with a little heat. I call that the star treatment. I took my flavor cues from Mario Batali on this one. But calling them “homefries” was my idea. I like homefries and all the warm comfortable associations they bring to my favorite (yep very favorite) of all root vegetables.

I chose to cook them homefries style– because it’s super easy, besides homefries make me smile. You see, I was making baked chicken. Which is a dish that needs very little embellishment to be perfect. Still I like to serve something with it that’s fresh, but familiar. Homefries are certainly familiar at my house, making homefries using rutabaga is just the kind of fresh take on the familiar I strive for.

So I peeled and diced the rutabaga, then sauteed the cubes with salt and a little maple syrup, cooking them until the flesh was tender and translucent, and the edges golden. Cooked this way rutabaga is as sweet and rich as butternut squash. But somehow a bit piquant as well. I upped that hint of heat with a hefty helping of red pepper flakes.

There was only one flaw in my plan. I couldn’t stop eating these rutabaga homefries straight from the pan. It started innocently enough. You know, “taste for seasoning”. We’ve all done it, take a small spoonful and see if it needs anything. Only this time a spoonful led to scoopful, before I knew it I was standing at the stove bent over the pan– shoveling these homefries into my mouth. I might have eaten the whole pan full too. Fortunately the timer went off on the roast chicken. Three electronic chimes that brought me back to reality just in time. Five more minutes and this side dish would have become the whole meal. GREG

Rutabaga Homefries with Chilies, Mint & Maple serves 8 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 3 lb rutabaga, peeled & cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 4 clv garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 1 pn kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 T fresh mint, chooped

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan set over medium heat, until very hot and nearly smoking. Add the rutabaga dice, and cook stirring often, until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, vinegar and maple syrup. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 1 minute. Season with salt. Remove from heat, toss with mint and serve.

Adapted from Mario Batali

Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining forThe Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in Panama & Costa Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or atHomefries Podcast Network.