Thursday, December 31, 2009

Buttery Mashed Potato Swedes

The humble swede is a root vegetable used in a variety of ways and very popular in England and Europe. Although it is a good source of vitamin C, folate and fiber, it is a vegetable often overlooked in the United States probably because it is known here by its less appetizing name of rutabaga or yellow turnip. (Really! Try telling your kids, "Eat your rutabagas; they're good for you!" and watch them run from the dinner table.) But honestly, they are quite delicious and easy to prepare. For someone on a reduced carb diet, they are an excellent substitute for mashed potatoes with only half the carbs and twice the fiber! Their taste is distinctive, but quite pleasant. I suggest cooking them in broth because, as they boil, they'll take on the flavor of the liquid and broth is so much more flavorful than plain water. In this recipe, I have mashed them with a potato and butter in a fashion Americans have come to associate with "comfort food." Mashed swedes are especially appealing at this time of year when you might be craving heartier, warmer foods to combat the cold of winter. If you've never eaten swedes (or rutabagas), I hope I've convinced you to give them a try soon and see what you've been missing!

Buttery Mashed Potato Swedes
(Makes six ½-cup servings)

1 large swede (also known as yellow turnip or rutabaga)
1 small to medium russet potato
1½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup milk or light cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel and cut swede and potato into 1-inch chunks. Place chunks in a large saucepan and add broth. Add enough water to cover vegetables. Add ½ teaspoon salt to pan and boil for about 15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.

2. Reserve ½ cup cooking liquid, then drain remaining liquid from cooked vegetables. Add butter and milk to hot pan, return vegetables to pan and mash with a potato masher or whip with an electric mixer. Add reserved cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. (For a smoother texture, run mashed swedes through a food mill.) Serve hot.

Nutritional Information per ½ cup: 58.5 calories, 11.6 g carbohydrate, 3.6 g total fat, 2.3 g saturated fat, 2 g fiber, 1.5 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this recipe compare to traditional mashed potatoes? Swedes are half the calories of potatoes, lower in carbs and higher in fiber. For comparison, the nutritional information per ½ cup mashed potatoes made from a homemade recipe is 118 calories, 17.8 g carbohydrate, 4.3 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 1.5 g fiber, 2 g protein.

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