CSA Week 17: Sneaking Rutabaga Into Shepherd’s Pie

Cassius and Roxy really like this week’s CSA box from Sol to Seed Farm

Opening this week’s CSA box I was reminded that summer is almost over.
This weeks box includes:
  • Onions – Yellow + Red Cippolini
  • Winter Squash (Gold Nugget)
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Red Chiordi Kale
  • Arugula
  • Rutabaga
  • Broccoli
  • Hot Peppers (Cayenne, Serrano, Santa Fe Grande)
Soon the taste of vine-ripe cucumbers will be assigned to memory until next year.  Like Sol to Seed farms around here are experiencing cooler temperatures (it was 33F this morning) and preparing their farms floods.  Today Farmer Matt says he’s “putting the farm to bed via the process of placing all the items living outside since May, into storage once again. This means rolling up drip tap, picking up concrete blocks, row cover, hoses, the list goes on.”
One of the new items in this week’s box is rutabaga, also known as the Swedish turnip.  It’s got a yellow flesh and is often perceived as bitter or “strong tasting”.  People seem to love or hate it.
The bitterness can be tempered with gobs of butter, cream and salt or mashed with sweet apples, or roasted with starchy potatoes and carrots.  Rutabaga is high in Vitamin C, and is harvested during the fall and winter just as us humans start catching colds.
A combined potato and rutabaga mash makes an excellent topping for Shepherd’s Pie.  I posted this recipe for Shepherd’s Pie My Way back in 2010.  Simply incorporate rutabaga by replacing one pound of potatoes with one pound of peeled and cubed rutabaga.  Boil and mash together with the butter, cream, etc.  The mashed topping will be be more golden in color, and even more nutritious and delicious than straight potato mash.  Plus any bitter rutabaga flavor will actually be lost to the filling of lamb and warm spices. This Shepherd’s Pie recipe can be made vegetarian by using cooked lentils instead of lamb).
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