Rutabagas for Thanksgiving?

Some people had Candied Yams, smothered in marshmallows and butter, as a special dish on holidays.

We had rutabagas.

I have no idea why rutabagas were considered a holiday treat at our house.

At least half the people I know (outside of my family) would run screaming from the table if a steaming bowl of rutabagas were set before them.

Rutabagas (aka: swedes) aren’t a rare or exotic vegetable. 

They’re a yellow turnip, nothing more.

But, when I was growing up, our Thanksgiving table was not complete without them.

The only time we had them was Thanksgiving and Christmas.

They’re not, according to current pundits, a kid-friendly vegetable.

All the kids in my family loved them.

Were they a treat because we only had them twice a year, on holidays?

Was my mother on to something?

The rest of our holiday dinner was traditional: Roast Turkey with Sage Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Fruit Salad, fresh dinner rolls warm from the oven and Pumpkin Pie for dessert.  

We still have rutabagas on the table at Thanksgiving.

It’s tradition.

This is my mother’s recipe….

Except for the sherry – that’s my addition.

Rutabagas with Bacon and Onion

2 slices bacon, (1.5oz, 45gr)
1/2 medium onion
1 rutabaga
1 tbs butter
1 tbs sherry

Peel rutabaga (with a vegetable peeler – like a potato) and cut into pieces about 1/2″ X 1/4″ – you will need a big knife; it’s rather hard. Roughly chop bacon and sauté in a medium sauce pan. When crisp remove and drain all but 1 tbs fat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add rutabaga, 1/2 cup water and bacon. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 – 20 minutes. Test for doneness – taste, should be like a cooked potato. When done, drain any remaining liquid, stir in butter, sherry and serve.

Over the years, in my own kitchen, I’ve added to and updated our Thanksgiving table.

One of the favorites that I was asked to contribute to our family gatherings are Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes:

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Here in France, I’ve found it easier to find and roast a capon, rather than a turkey, Roast Capon with Port Sauce:

Roast Capon

Happy Thanksgiving this weekend to all of my Canadian friends….

“I created this post as part of Frigidaire’s Talk Turkey Campaign. Share your own recipes and tips at Frigidaire’s Make Time for Change site. For every recipe or tip that’s shared, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save The Children’s U.S. Programs, which creates lasting change for children in need.”

6 thoughts on “Rutabagas for Thanksgiving?”

  1. Since I detested rutabagas as a child, I’d guess that the bacon and onions masked the flavor of the swedes! 🙂 Must try this now that I’m grown up and see if I like them better.

  2. This post brought back memories of my Christmas visits to my mother in law’s house in Alaska. Apparently hubby grew up on smashed rutabagas, turnips and potatoes. I tried them once out of politeness but I didn’t like the taste. Hubby ate them like they were candy.

  3. Zoomie, bacon does wonders on anything…. but I even like then plain.
    manningroad,I know they’re the same – but the rutabagas I buy here and in the US were much smaller than the ‘swedes’ we had in Ireland…..
    Tamar, it’s all in what you grow up on ;-))
    Ina, I like the trimmings better than the turkey 😉

  4. I love rutabagies, how we called rutabaga when children, and sometimes still slip back.
    Rutabagas are not just for holidays anymore in my home. We always boiled it with a bit of salt and then smashed it up and put butter on the top and then baked it. yum yum – Mom always told us never to put a cover on the pot as it was cooking, will make the rutabagie bitter. I will be trying your recipe soon, as I have one sitting on the cupboard now.

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