As I perused different websites and cook books for Thanksgiving side-dishes this year, I found an overwhelming amount of root vegetables being substituted for mashed potatoes. It’s quite brilliant actually! Root vegetables are in season, plus that have a simple flavor like a potato but with a boost of earthiness. These Mashed rutabagas are perfectly sweet and spicy with the roasted pears and ginger. And of course, I had to add my favorite nuts to the top. Hazelnuts top off any good dish, making it now exceptional!
Root vegetables are not only low in calories and high in fiber, they are bursting with essential nutrients that we should be consuming on a daily basis.
If you’re hesitant to jump on board with the root vegetable trend, try just adding a few rutabagas or turnips to your mashed potatoes. Cooks Illustrated does a beautiful job at finding the perfect combination of root vegetables with potatoes in this recipe. Or why not have both for your Thanksgiving meal! Mashed potatoes for the traditional folks and Mashed Rutabagas for your more daring guests.
Mashed Rutabaga with Ginger-Roasted Pears and Hazelnuts
- 4 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes (6-8 rutabagas)
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 firm Anjou pears (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 Anjou pear (sliced for garnish)
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons of hazelnuts, chopped and roasted for 5 min
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut oil
- Coarse kosher salt
- Cook rutabagas in pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 35 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Combine oil, lemon juice, ginger, and sugar in large bowl. Add pears; toss to coat. Spread the cubed pear and sliced pear on prepared sheet. Roast until tender, turning pears every 10 minutes, about 35 minutes total. During the last 5 minutes roasted the hazelnuts.
- Drain rutabagas; return to same pot. Mash to coarse puree. Stir over medium heat until excess moisture evaporates, 5 minutes. Add cream, butter. Mix in pears and any juices from baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to microwave-safe bowl. Cover; chill. Rewarm at 1-minute intervals.
- Top with the sliced pear, fresh thyme, a drizzle of hazelnut oil and roasted hazelnuts.