Predictable vegetables or not, winter recipes from America's rural past float off the page with a steamy hominess: thick soups with dumplings and vegetable purees which the fashionable food world is acting as though it just invented.
But what the root vegetable has gained in beauty, it has lost in flavor. The once plain vegetable soup is often tasteless without good rich stock and a pinch of herbs. The old recipes need gussying up to make them flavorful today, so we've taken some oldies and added a little dash.
Thank goodness for potato, turnip (or rutabaga, which is more accurate), and carrot to enrich the boring parade of frozen broccoli, frozen corn, frozen peas, and green beans.* Try mixing all three. The combination is marvelous, the potato softening the aggressive character of the rutabaga and the carrot sweetening both of them gracefully. Sauteed Winter Vegetables With Rosemary 3 cups boiling potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes 1 1/2 cups rutabaga, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced in 1-inch pieces 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary Salt and pepper 1/4 cup minced parsley
Heat a 10-inch skillet and add butter and oil. When butter begins to turn brown, add all vegetables and toss to coat with oil. Saute gently over moderate heat, turning frequently with a wide spatula until golden brown and tender. If they begin to darken before they are soft, add a little water, cover, and steam briefly.
Uncover and add seasonings. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper and toss for 2 more minutes over the heat. Pour into a warm dish and top with minced parsley. Serves 6 as a side dish. Scalloped Winter Vegetables 1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and cut in thick slices 1/2 pound rutabaga, peeled and cut in thick slices 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch slices 1 large clove garlic, minced 1/4 teaspoon each dried thyme and freshly ground pepper 2 cups chicken stock, homemade, canned, or instant 2 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons butter 3 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded Salt, if necessary
Toss together potatoes, rutabaga, and carrots to distribute them evenly. Place with garlic in a saucepan. Whisk flour, thyme, and pepper into chicken stock. Taste and add salt if necessary. Pour over vegetables and bring slowly to a boil, stirring once a twice to keep flour suspended in stock.
Grease an au gratin dish or other shallow baking pan generously with butter. Transfer vegetables to dish, making sure they are almost completely submerged in the liquid. Add more stock if necessary.
Sprinkle with cheese and bake in a preheated 350-degree F. oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until vegetables are soft. Serve immediately to 4 to 6. Excellent with baked pork chops. Winter Salad 2 large boiling potatoes 1 chunk rutabaga, approximately 1/2 the amount of the potato 2 medium carrots 1/4 cup beef bouillon, homemade, canned, or instant Dressing: 1/4 cup cider vinegar 1/2 cup salad oil 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard Salt and pepper to taste 4 scallions, finely sliced, including much of the green
Boil vegetables separately until just tender. Peel and cut in thick slices approximately equal in size. Sprinkle with beef bouillon.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and season to taste. Pour over warm vegetables and turn gently to keep pieces intact, but coat evenly with dressing. Sprinkle with scallions and serve warm or cold. Excellent with broiled kielbasa or frankfurters.