Rutabaga Oven Fries

Look at those fries!  Notice anything different about them?  Yes, they are baked in the oven and no, they are not potatoes!

These fries are made from Rutabaga, a delicious lower carb alternative to the potato.  Easy to prepare, this root vegetable is inexpensive and available year round.  With just a bit of sweetness it can stand in for potato in many recipes.  The fries are not quite as crispy as deep fried, but they are darned good!  Of course they are naturally gluten free!

My favorite way to use Rutabaga is as a topping for Shepherd’s Pie.  This is one of my most popular recipes, both online and at home!

The dilemma, I use only half of the rutabaga in my Shepherd’s Pie recipe, so what to do with the rest?  That is where I decided to experiment with another favorite potato side, the oven fry.

Prepare them just as you would oven fried potatoes.  Toss with olive oil, just a little cornmeal with seasoned salt them roast them at high heat.

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Ingredients:

  • ½ medium rutabaga
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoned salt (I used Lawry’s)
  • 1 tsp. cornmeal
  • Cooking spray

Preparation:

You will need to put a little muscle into this preparation!  Slice off the top and bottom of the rutabaga to create a flat surface that will sit securely on your cutting board.  Now peel off the skin by running your knife  down the sides.  Cut into 1/2″ thick strips.  This is a great upper body workout!

Toss the fries with the olive oil, cornmeal and seasoned salt in a large bowl, be sure that all are evenly coated.  Preheat your oven to 450° and prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil and misting with cooking spray.  Spread the slices out on the baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 30 minutes, tossing half way through.  For a crisper, browned exterior, finish them under the broiler for 3-5 minutes on low.  Watch that they don’t burn!

That’s it!  What a great side dish, shown here with steak and veggies.

Notes: ♪♫ Rutabaga will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.  It can also be steamed and frozen.

The Lazy Gastronome

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Shepherd’s Pie with Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a gluten free and nutritious root vegetable that can be substituted for potato in many recipes.  For my Shepherd’s Pie, I use mashed rutabaga as a topping instead of the traditional mashed potato.  This meal has been a family favorite for years and it was easy to modify the recipe to a gluten free version.  If you are gluten free, you probably eat a lot of potatoes so this is a nice change from the usual.  Give it a try, delicious, gluten free Shepherd’s Pie with Rutabaga.

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4 Servings 

 

FOR THE FILLINg:

  • 8 oz. lean ground beef
  • 4 oz. gluten free Italian sausage 
  • olive oil 
  • 3 cloves minced garlic 
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced 
  • 2 cups gluten free frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots and corn) 
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste 
  • 1 tbsp. gluten free Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 cup gluten free broth (beef, chicken or vegetable) 
  • rice flour, for dusting

For the Topping: 

  • 1/2 large rutabaga or yellow turnip 
  • Salt, to taste 
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used gruyere) 
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 
  • 3 tbsp. butter 
  • 1% milk (or use half and half) 
  • paprika 
  • Italian parsley for garnish 

 

Preparation: 

Peeling the rutabaga is the hardest part of the recipe, so we begin by giving those arm muscles a workout!  Use a good sturdy knife and cut ¼” off the bottom, so you have a flat stable surface.  Then set it on a cutting board and run your knife down the sides to peel.

 

Cut the rutabaga in half, and slice one half into large cubes.  Reserve the other half for another meal (it makes great oven fries).   

Heat water in a sauce pan with a steamer basket.  Steam the rutabaga  cubes until soft and easily pierced with a fork.  Add salt to taste, remove from heat and set aside.  This step usually takes 30-45 minutes, so I will often steam the rutabaga a day ahead and reheat it in the microwave when I’m ready to finish the dish. 

 

I’m preparing this dish in a cast iron Braising pan.  I’ll cook and serve dinner all in the same dish for easy cleanup!  You can also use an oven safe skillet, a Dutch oven, or if you don’t have an oven safe option simply transfer everything to a baking dish to finish in the oven.  To get started on the filling, heat a little olive oil in the pan over medium low and add the ground beef and sausage, breaking the meat up with a spatula to brown.  Add the onion and garlic.

You can throw the frozen vegetables right into the pan, they will defrost quickly.  Cook 4 minutes.  Clear a spot in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste.  Let it cook for a minute before stirring into the meat and veggies.  Season with salt and pepper.

Next add the thyme and Worcestershire sauce, then add the broth and reduce heat to low.   Simmer uncovered  until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes.  You can dust a little rice flour over the mixture to help things along.   

To make the topping I used a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  You can also use a food processor or potato masher.  Combine the cooked rutabaga (reheat it if you made it the day before) with 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, 3 tbsp. butter and a big pinch of salt.

The recipe is very forgiving so substitute any cheese that you prefer, even cream cheese will work.

Mix on low speed as you drizzle in a little 1% milk (or use half and half for a richer taste), until the mixture resembles mashed potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Spoon the rutabaga mash evenly over the top, using a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth it out.  If you are transferring to a baking dish, be sure to coat it with cooking spray.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and paprika and bake for 25 minutes, then finish under the broiler for 4 minutes more to brown the top.  Keep an eye on it, after all that work you don’t want it to burn! 

When you remove it from the oven the sides will be bubbling, so let it rest for a few minutes before serving.  I like to garnish it with Italian parsley before bringing it to the table.  Mmmm, it is so delicious, and you will be surprised  at how filling it is!  I hope you will try the recipe, it’s an interesting twist on this traditional comfort food dish. 

 

Notes ♪♫ As always, check ingredient labels and make sure all prepared foods such as the broth do not contain hidden gluten.  I used Lea and Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce in this recipe, but watch labeling as it is gluten free in the US but may not be in Canada.  Goya frozen mixed veggies are labeled gluten free.  For the cheese, I always buy a block and grate my own.  If you use shredded cheese, be sure to check the ingredients, some additives may contain gluten. 

 

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