Whipped rutabaga is a fluffy, creamy side dish that will make your Thanksgiving sparkle – especially when paired with crisped shallots.
Poor rutabaga. They didn’t really do it any favors when they were naming it, did they? I mean, it’s not like the word just rolls off the tongue. Rutabaga. It sounds weird. Ru-ta-ba-ga.
The thing is though, what it lacks in grammatical elegance, it more than makes up for in flavor and texture. I think it’s criminally underused and if you’ve never tried it, you’re in for a treat. (Note: it’s also sometimes called swede or yellow turnips, depending on where you live).
It often has a waxy coating (which allows it to last for months) though you can usually find unwaxed ones at farmers markets. Once peeled it can range in color from a deep golden yellow to a pale ivory. It can be roasted or fried, but my all time favorite way to prepare it is this way; boiled, puréed with a little butter and milk and topped with sweet, crispy shallots. Because it has a lot less starch than potatoes, it can be whipped in a food processor without getting at all gummy and the result is a silky smooth purée that has just a hint of vegetal bitterness that is offset beautifully by it’s topping of crispy golden shallots.
Whipped rutabaga, my friends, might be the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. You can make it days in advance and reheat it on the stovetop. It’s creamy and rich without needing a ton of butter and cream. And it’s just unusual enough to be interesting but won’t freak out any traditionalists in your group.
Oh, and the crispy shallots… These are so good, you could top a frisbee with them and it would be delicious.
The recipe originally came from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa, though I’ve adapted it a bit. I used quite a bit less butter, just because the rutabaga is so silky, I didn’t think it needed it. I’ve also simplified the directions for making the crispy shallots. My advice is, make as many shallots as you can and put them on absolutely everything until they’re gone. Then make more.
- For the Crispy Shallots:
- 1½ cups light olive or vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 to 6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
- For the Rutabaga:
- 2 large yellow turnips (rutabagas), about 4 pounds total
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil and unsalted butter in a saucepan over low heat until the butter melts. Add the shallots, and cook very slowly until they turn almost completely translucent (it should just barely bubble at this stage). This should take about 30 minutes. Then turn the heat up a little to medium low and cook, stirring often, until they turn a rich golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Do not walk away once you turn the heat up because they will brown very quickly at this stage.Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain well, and spread out to cool on paper towels. Once they have dried and crisped, they can be stored at room temperature, covered, for several days.
- Peel the turnips to remove the waxy skins and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Place them in a saucepan with water to cover and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until tender (they should be easily pierced by a paring knife), about 35 minutes. Drain well.
- In a separate saucepan, heat the milk until it just begins to simmer.
- Puree the turnips in a food processor fitted with the steel blade (in batches, if necessary). While pureeing, add the butter to the hot mixture and then pour the milk in a steady stream. Don’t worry about over mixing, unlike potatoes, this won’t get gluey. The turnips should be silky and smooth. Season to taste (I used ½ teaspoon each course kosher salt and pepper).
- This can be made up to two days ahead and reheated (keep crispy shallots separate until serving). Pour purée into a saucepan and reheat, stirring, over medium heat until hot. Top with the crispy shallots just before serving so they stay crunchy.