Coarsely mashing boiled carrots and rutabaga together with a little butter really highlights ingredients. The two vegetables will not fully incorporate into an orange mash but will instead create a beautiful mosaic in your serving dish. If you caught it, yes, I said rutabaga instead of turnips. In Ireland, the term turnip is used but what is really used is what, in America, we call rutabagas. This was always a point of confusion for me as a kid in the store with my Mom. It always left me confused that we were making “turnips and carrots” but were buying rutabagas. I always just thought it had two different “common” names. I was probably in my 30’s before I learned turnips and rutabagas are actually two different root vegetables.
This dish always graces our holiday table, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s another old-world recipe my great-grandmother brought over with her from Ireland. It’s also a dish of great contention, too. People either love it or they hate it. Kids more so than adults but if you were a kid who was forced to eat this dish, you may still hate it purely on principle, like my Dad. (Sorry Dad). However, I will NEVER forget a Thanksgiving dinner about 10 years ago when my Grandma Julie was still alive. My Mom had prepared our traditional Thanksgiving menu which combined our old-world Irish dishes with the traditional American Thanksgiving dishes. My Dad, who was forced to eat Mashed Carrots and turnips as a kid, put a dollop on his plate and passed them around the dinner table to his Mother. She took the bowl, looked down at them in the bowl and back up at him and said: “Why would I want this? I hate Turnips and Carrots.” I thought my Dad was going to snap but he remained composed. I have to admit, I was both shocked and surprised — and relieved — that the crisis in motion at our Holiday table had been averted.
I’m willing to admit that I didn’t care for them as a kid mostly because they were different — and orange! Now, I really do enjoy them. The mashed carrots are sweet while the rutabagas have an earthy flavor and they pair very well together. The added sweetness from the butter and a good sprinkling of salt really make this dish shine. Be sure when you mash them to keep adding salt just a little at a time, mixing thoroughly and then re-tasting to get a really good salting of the vegetables — obviously being careful not to over-salt them. As a rule, salt is really one seasoning you have to add a bit at a time “to taste” and it’s easy to go a little too far with it but salt does really enhance the amazing flavors of both these root vegetables.
Mashed Carrots and Turnips
- 1 pounds carrots , peeled and sliced into large chunks
- 1 medium rutabaga , peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup butter , cubed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper or more to taste
- Place carrots and turnips in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
- Drain and mash. Add the butter, salt and pepper to taste.