We are fortunate to celebrate Thanksgiving more than once each year with assorted gatherings of the clan. My Aunt Faith, the ultimate planner, hosts a multitude of Craig and Wixson descendants at her snug 1960’s ranch in Falmouth. Weeks before, the menu LIST is circulated vie e-mail, with each of us signing up to bring a dish.
My sister and her husband grow cranberries, so she always nabs the relish. My cousin Ed makes the best apple crumb pie. Robin bakes flaky, crescent dinner rolls and Gretel prepares creamed peas with pearl onions. My contribution to this annual repast, turnips or rutabaga, is often sadly overlooked.
This year, I’ve been on the lookout for a new recipe that will encourage folks to try these hearty, delicious, and under-appreciated roots. In a search through my archives, the recipe for Mashed Root Vegetables with Bacon Vinaigrette caught my eye. This would be an easy dish to prepare in advance.
Bacon appeals to everyone, and the combination of onion sautéed in bacon fat is such satisfying soul food. When combined with cider vinegar, maple syrup and mustard seeds, this dressing becomes the perfect match for the rich, sweetness of the roots. Maybe this year, celeriac or celery root, turnip, rutabaga, parsnips, or even kohlrabi will become the culinary stars at our family feast!
MASHED ROOTS WITH BACON VINAIGRETTE
- 4 – 5 pounds root vegetables peeled and cubed (turnip, rutabaga, celeriac)
- ½ cup cider vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
- ½ pound bacon diced
- 1 large onion diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley for serving
- Peel the root vegetables and cut into bite-sized pieces. Steam until they are just fork tender, but not mushy.
To prepare the dressing:
- In a small saucepan, simmer the 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard seeds with the cider vinegar and water until the seeds have plumped, about 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain the liquid from the seeds, and reserve both the liquid and the plumped seeds.
- In a sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat starts to render. Add the diced onion, increase the heat, and cook until the bacon is brown and crisp. Then add the plumped mustard seeds and cook until they pop. Stir in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and the cooking liquid from the mustard seeds. Add sea salt and fresh pepper to taste.
To prepare the roots:
- Mash the roots and stir in the bacon vinaigrette. Spoon the mixture into a greased casserole and cover with foil. Store in the refrigerator.
- To reheat the Mashed Roots, cook the casserole, covered, in a 350-degree oven until hot, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle the top with chopped fresh parsley before serving.