Saturday, January 10, 2009
Mashed potatoes and rutabegas with cheese and caramelized onion (or, oh, god, enough with the root vegetables, already!)
Yes, more root vegetables!!
One of my best childhood/cooking memories is of my paternal grandmother (who died last year at the age of 98). She made pierogi by the gazillion several times a year when the extended family gathered at her house. She taught my mom to make them, too, and hers were even better than Grandma's. Beautifully supple egg-noodle dough, encapsulating a cheesy, onion-y, mashed potato filling. (Grandma also made ones stuffed with "kapusta" -- which was a combination of canned sauerkraut and fresh cabbage -- also delicious, and ones stuffed with stewed prunes, about which, well, the less I say, the better.)
After filling, they're dunked in boiling water long enough to cook the pasta, and then fried in a pan with butter and served, brown and crispy, with sour cream and/or more butter. Heavenly.
My mother and I have made pierogi together, with the help of the pasta machine to roll out the dough (Grandma used a rolling pin, of course). They're fun, but incredibly time-consuming (not to mention highly caloric!)
I was thinking of these the other night as I made this root-vegetable mash for dinner.
Mashed potatoes and rutabegas with cheese and caramelized onion
(maybe) 2 lbs potatoes, scrubbed (peeling optional) and cut into chunks
(maybe) 1.5 lbs rutabega, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 medium onions, sauteed in 2 T butter until brown and caramelized
1.5-2 cups grated sharp cheddar
salt and pepper to taste
Mash everything together. Use a scraper to get all the butter and onion out of the pan and into the mash.
Notes: the rutabegas and potatoes should really be cooked separately, as the potatoes cook a lot faster. The rutabegas are easier to mash if they're cooked nearly to falling-apart.
The broth from cooking the rutabegas and the potatoes is great to save for soup.
I served this with these lentils.