I have to admit I’d never cooked with rutabagas – never even eaten them, to my recollection – before I tried this recipe. But when I opened Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, Plenty More, I kept flipping back to this page. I had to try it.
The recipe is pretty straightforward, but cutting rutabaga isn’t easy. At one point, as I was slicing through the thickest part, my knife actually got stuck. I tried sawing it forward and yanking it backward. Still it wouldn’t move. I felt like the young King Arthur trying to remove his fabled sword from its resting place. But like young Arthur, I persevered, certain it was my destiny to do so. And like him, I was eventually successful.
Though I can’t claim this recipe is the holy grail, I can tell you it was mythically delicious. And its magical powers were such that even my 17 year old – who doesn’t like anything – ate it, and admitted she liked it. Even Merlin hath no greater power.
Stuffed Peppers with Rutabagas and Goat Cheese
(adapted from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi)
2/3 cup unsalted butter (yikes! But don’t worry, you’ll drain off most of it)
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 3/4" (1 cm) dice
1/2 cup thyme leaves
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 small yellow bell peppers
3 small red bell peppers
2 tsp olive oil
6 ounces (180 gram) goat cheese log, broken into 3/4" (1 cm) pieces
salt and black pepper
Melt the butter in a large saute pan or frying pan over medium heat. Add the rutabaga, thyme, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and a grind of pepper. Turn down the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for about 50 minutes, spooning the butter over the rutabaga from time to time, until the rutabaga is completely soft and caramelized. Use a slotted spoon to remove the rutabaga from the butter and add it to a large bowl along with the Parmesan and garlic. Set aside until needed. (The leftover butter can be used for cooking carrots or zucchini, if you like.)
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and white flesh and place, cut side up, on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the oil over the top, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and place in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the peppers are slightly charred and the flesh is completely soft. Remove the peppers from the oven and turn down the temperature to 425 degrees F.
Spoon the rutabaga mixture into each pepper and dot the goat cheese on top. Return to the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes, so the cheese gets some colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving warm, or serve at room temperature.