Maple and Thyme-Scented Rutabaga Puree

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Rutabagas are nothing more than large yellow turnips.  This comforting puree can take the place of mashed potatoes any night of the week for me.  It’s rich and earthy-tasting, but actually, quite light.  I like to add sweetness to it–a little touch of maple syrup is the perfect neutralizer for rutabaga’s mustardy undertones.

Rutabagas are perhaps, the sturdiest of the root vegetables.  They need to  be boiled until fork-tender, which can take over an hour.  I like to place a couple of thyme sprigs in the cooking liquid, in order to gently infuse them with the flavor of thyme (then remove the sprigs).

This dish is simple enough to not require a recipe–the technique is simple and the proportions can range, depending on how much butter and sweetness you care for.  One 6″ diameter rutabaga will serve 4 generously as a side dish.

Peel a rutabaga and dice into 1″ cubes, then place in a large pot of cold water, with a teaspoon of salt, and a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme. Bring to a boil.

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Cook until the larger pieces cut very easily with a knife (this took an hour and fifteen minutes for me).  Add water during cooking, if necessary.  When tender, remove thyme sprigs.

Working in 2 batches, place half the cubes in the food processor, along with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

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Process until a puree forms.  Taste and add salt and plenty of black pepper.  Repeat with the remaining cubes plus more butter and syrup.  Serve immediately.

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I served these with Lamb Meatloaf, along with brussels sprouts, blanched and sauteed with a touch of nutmeg, carrots and butter.

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