Granted, I love root vegetables. Potatoes, carrots, celery root, parsnip—I could eat these year round. But rutabaga? Turnip? Didn’t these things go out of style after World War I?
Maybe I was feeling a little cocky from the kale soup, but this is the vegetable equivalent of trying to compete in the Indy 500 with a learner’s permit. Not only are both turnip and rutabaga members of the much-maligned (by me) brassica family, but even people who love vegetables of every taste and texture have trouble with those two.
That trust was in serious jeopardy the minute I stuck my head in the bowl with the cubed rutabaga and turnip. I can’t even begin to explain the smell—the only descriptor that came to mind at the time was “Satan’s pubes.” I just couldn’t fathom how this horrific bowl of wrong could transform into something edible.
But, as I’m sure you’ve surmised by now, it did. The rutabaga was surprisingly sweet, and the potatoes absorbed the other flavors perfectly. (If I’m being 100% honest, though, the turnips were on the questionable side. They were more fibrous than the potatoes or rutabaga, and had a slightly unpleasant medicinal-horseradish taste. Next time I’d probably switch them out for something else.)
This makes 6 very generous servings.
For the filling:
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cubed: $1.23
1 large turnip, peeled and cubed: 57 cents
1.5 lbs. red potatoes, cubed: $1.17
1 large onion, chopped: 25 cents
2 carrots, diced: 6 cents
2 stalks celery, chopped: 18 cents
2 garlic cloves, chopped: 4 cents
Whole leaves from 2 sprigs of sage (garden): $0
Whole leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary (garden): $0
Handful of parsley leaves (about 1/4 cup), chopped (garden): $0
1 cup Parmesan, grated: $1.20
1 cup half-and-half (or, better yet, cream): 60 cents
1 cup beef or vegetable broth (I used Better Than Bouillon base): 7 cents
2 T butter: 12 cents
2 T flour: 1 cent
Salt & pepper: 1 cent
Pinch of pepper flakes: 3 cents
TOTAL: $5.54/6 = 92 cents/serving
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour: 16 cents
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats: 2 cents
1/4 cup Parmesan: 20 cents
2 1/2 tsp baking powder: 12 cents
1/2 tsp salt: 1 cent
4 T butter (unsalted), cut into cubes: 24 cents
1 1/4 cups milk: 20 cents
TOTAL: 95 cents/6 = 16 cents
GRAND TOTAL: 92 cents + 16 cents = $1.08/serving
Prepare a 9×13 baking dish. (I greased it with olive oil.)
Separate the mirepoix (chopped onions, carrots, celery) in one bowl and the cubed potato, turnip and rutabaga in another.
Heat the butter over medium heat in a large soup pot, add the mirepoix and cook until softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, cook until fragrant.
Add the potato, turnip, rutabaga, rosemary, sage and parsley to the cooked mirepoix, stir well to combine. Add the broth and simmer for 15 minutes, partially covered, stirring occasionally.
Transfer the vegetables to the baking dish, leaving the broth in the pot. (This part is probably not going to go well unless you have a skimmer, but you can muddle through with a spatula or regular slotted spoon, as I have done countless times.) Add the 1 cup grated Parmesan to the vegetables, tossing to combine. Re-heat the broth in the pot, add the cream or half-and-half and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the 2 T flour until the sauce thickens, then pour it over the vegetables.
For the topping, combine the flour, salt, oats, baking powder and cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture has a pebbly texture. Add the milk, pulsing just until a cohesive dough is formed. (If you don’t have a food processor, you could do this using a pastry cutter and a spoon, or your fingers and a spoon.) Drop by the spoonful—preferably much more gracefully than I did—on top of the vegetables, flattening it so it’s no more than half an inch thick.
Bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees, let sit about 10 minutes before serving.