‘bagas baby … Yeah!

Rutabagas that is … you know, that wild purple and yellow root vegetable that nobody eats? Well, I got it bad for ‘bagas … at least twice a year on T-day and Christmas.

My lovely bride and I celebrated Thanksgiving with her family in Dallas and there were no ‘bagas in sight. I did not expect the lovely, bitter little root veggies to make the scene — rutabagas find little respect out in the world — but I found myself back home Saturday pining for ‘bagas in the worst way.

So while listening to the Martiniinthemorning gang do their annual countdown of the “Top 100 Holiday Songs” last Saturday, I decided to cook up a meal that could sate my holiday rutabaga addiction.

I got game…

We did the turkey dance big time on Thursday so there was no going there But ‘bagas are a tough match … requiring something stout enough to lean against without overwhelming but not competitive in the same taste quadrant … I dug around the old recipe cache and decided quail would quell the edgy symptoms of this ruta-junkie.

Anne Burell does a great (and easy) stuffed semi-boneless quail recipe that fits the bill perfectly. The stuffing is a simple blend of sautéed onion and fennel with some bulk fennel sausage, reggiano and bread crumbs. Finished off by wrapping the little quailinators with bacon belts … they were the perfect foil for the rutabagas. Whether you’re a ‘baga abuser or not, this stuffed quail recipe is worth a try and you can snag it off my VSGuy Recipe page.

Mash ’em if you got ’em…

I’m sure there’s all manner of haute cuisine rutabaga recipes out there (probably not actually), but the only recipe that soothes the savage ‘baga beast for me is a simple mash with copious pats of butter, salt and pepper. That’s it … peel and cut the LSU colored root veg into ~ 1 inch cubes, boil ’em and mash them with enough butter to dial the bitter taste back a bit … salt and cracked black pepper and away you go.

The plate looks Spartan I know. But there are two good reasons for this. First, like I mentioned above rutabagas are tough to saddle up next to other (lesser) vegetables, but more importantly I wanted to eat a metric butt-load of them and didn’t need the distraction!

Leader Animated

As you can see, we actually lined up a nice Spanish Granacha for the quail and ‘bagas gig — the “Martini” I alluded to in the title was the “in the Morning” variety. None of the players disappointed this evening. Brad and team spun through seemingly boundless classic and new holiday standards … the quail … the wine and most importantly the ‘BAGAS!

Saul Good Now…

… at least for a month or so when my Rutabaga Jones comes calling again. All I know is I’d better find some waxy root veg love under the tree Christmas morning!