goodbye winter stew with rutabaga carrots and potatoes

April 1, 2013


I’m invoking the spring. It’s April 1st and for many of you, you will be skipping amongst the tulips. But for us here in Toronto it’s windy, and cold, and – yes – snowing. Grumpiness abounds. So, to invoke the spring I’ve decided to clean out my fridge of all the winter hangers-on like rutabaga, carrots, and potatoes. Deborah Madison in her new (fabulous!) cookbook Vegetable Literacy, has the perfect recipe for these 3 rooty vegetables that are often relied upon to get us through the darkness of our darkest months. “Mustard grounds the sweetness of the vegetables” and a lovely parsley sauce contributes to the prayer for sun, warmth, and longer days with its green intensity and fresh springy taste. It’s goodbye winter. Hello spring. Bring on the fresh asparagus, spinach, and baby greens … after I finish another serving of the stew.


Winter Stew

2 tbsps olive oil

2 onions, diced

1 large rutabaga, thickly peeled and diced into large chunks

2 or 3 red potatoes, scrubbed and diced into large chunks

6 carrots, scrubbed, but into 1 inch lengths and wider ends cut in half

2 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

sea salt

1 cup water or vegetable stock

2 to 3 tsps mustard, dijon or dijon a l’ancienne

ground black pepper

Parsley Sauce

1 clove garlic

sea salt

1/4 tsp black peppercorns

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

3/4 cup finely chopped parsley

3/4 cup olive oil

1 large shallot

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Fresh lemon juice or sherry vinegar


Heat the oil in a wide saute pan with a lid over medium heat. Add the onion, rutabagas, potatoes, carrots, thyme, and bay leaves, turn to coat, and season with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water, cover, turn the heat to medium low, and cook for 20 minutes. Check to see how tender the vegetables are and how much liquid is left. When the vegetables are nearly tender, stir in the mustard and then continue cooking without the lid to reduce the cooking liquid.

Remove and discard the bay and thyme. Taste for salt and season with pepper.

Meanwhile, for the parsley sauce, pound the garlic in a mortar with 1/4 tsp salt, the peppercorns, the fennel seeds, and 2 tablespoons of the parsley to make a smooth paste. If the mixture seems to dry to handle well, add a little of the olive oil. Stir in the rest of the parsley, the shallot, the lemon zest, adn the oil to make a thick green sauce. Taste for salt, then sharpen with a little vinegar.

Serve the veggie stew as a side dish, or as a light dinner over rice or quinoa. However you serve it, finish each serving with a spoonful of the sauce or a scattering of minced parsley. The veggie stew can also become a soup with the addition of more liquid, or a puree with a spin in the food processor or a food mill. The sauce goes equally well with any iteration.

4 Responses to “goodbye winter stew with rutabaga carrots and potatoes”

  1. Emily Says:

    I love your writing Ruth!

  2. Megan B. Moore Says:

    Greetings to such a stellar Ms. Richardson:

    You certainly have loyal fans here in the Berkshires!
    The lessons you have offered our shared daughter Emma are priceless. Thank you & your family on SO MANY levels!
    Hope to see you all this summer.
    xoxo, Megan

    • Megan,
      Thank you for this! We are so excited to have Emma come and visit this weekend. The only total bummer is that Andrew and I will be in San Francisco checking out some good places to v:out. BUT we know the girls will have an amazing time and we’ll have to catch up with Emma face:face another time. This summer for sure. Hope to see you too and thanks for checking out the blog.

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