Fearless Fridays are about pushing our culinary boundaries, lately I’ve done well with purchasing seasonal vegetables, but the actually cooking the produce in a recipe part has been kicking my butt. I suppose I should cut myself a little slack, as I have been out of town. What have you done fearlessly in the kitchen? Please share your adventures in the comments and feel free to link to your own sites.
The mashed rutabaga I prepared a few weeks ago inspired me to purchase a couple more and continue the experimentation. This week I turned to my favorite ingredient, bacon. It would be possible to make a vegetarian version of this recipe with butter or olive oil (2 – 3 TBSP of either) and vegetable stock, but rendered bacon plays exceptionally well off of the apple and onion. Unless bacon is verboten, try the recipe as written.
For those unfamiliar with the term to braise means to brown and then cooking slowly in a wet heat. Braising is similar to how a crockpot is used, but for the best results the browning step should not be skipped. There is a magic, known as the Maillard reaction that occurs when amino acids and sugars are exposed to heat, it’s nearly impossible to recreate this flavor without browning; some things can’t be rushed.
Braised Rutabaga Recipe
- 1 rutabaga
- 1 tart apple
- 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, sliced thin
- 2 strips of bacon
- 1 cup chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
Braised Rutabaga Recipe Instructions:
In a heavy, oven-proof pot or dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon, chop, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F.
While the bacon is cooking, peel and dice the rutabaga and apple. The diced rutabaga should be no more than 1/2″ cubes or the baking time should be extended.
Add the onion to the rendered fat and cook until soft. Add the apples and cook for an additional minute. Add the stock, but begin with approximately 1/4 cup and use your spoon or spatula to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. NEVER use a metal utensil to scrape your cookware, unless you particularly enjoy scratching the finish and spending a lot of time scrubbing the food that gets caught in the scratches. Even then I suggest a more productive hobby.
Bringing those browned bits of goodness into the stock greatly increases the flavor of your dish, even if you plan on finishing in a slow cooker.
If you would like to make this in a slow cooker, place the diced rutabaga in the cooker and pour all of the other ingredients over top. Cover and cook on low for at least 4 hours or on high for 1.5 to 2.