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.


Maureen S. said...

I feel so lucky that I periodically get to partake in your wonderful culinary inventions! You're a amazing cook and an even better friend! Love from your food fan and friend, Maureen

Tall Kate said...

Aw, Maureen, you're making me blush. You're a great cook and a great friend, too, lady!!

S. said...

There was a pierogie restaurant in Madison while we were there, which my cousin had helped start so I ate there all the time. The butter! The steam! The comfort food! There was hot sauce involved, too, I think. Delicious.

Tall Kate said...

Oh, S., the idea of a pierogi restaurant has me salivating!!