Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What I Did with a Rutabaga

Have you cooked one of these?  With its beaten-up, thickly waxed peel, it was a bit daunting.  The thing was the size of a small pumpkin.  As I was pronouncing it out loud in the supermarket, the produce department employee chimed in, "They are very popular!"  Hmmm -- wish I'd asked him to elaborate.

I decided to put it in a lovely stew.  Based loosely on a recipe I found in a Martha Stewart cookbook, I added my own spin based on what I had on hand.  Utilizing spices common in Morroccan cooking, I researched "harissa" and invented one of my own, using dried chipotle chiles instead of the sharper, hotter varieties.  I also mashed garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway and dried mint.  I didn't have the saffron the recipe called for, so I subbed a little smoked paprika.  Carrots, a parsnip, and lots of sauteed shallots rounded out the vegetables, and I decided to add a couple of bay leaves and also a couple of star anise pods because I knew they would complement the warm spices.  Finally, I decided to use a little cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  The recipe suggested serving the stew over the larger Israeli couscous, but I couldn't find it so orzo worked just fine.  Fresh cilantro on top was perfect.  Delicious!

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