Turnips/Rutabagas/Maple, Oh My

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 From the kitchen of Maple Trout Lilli

Confused about the difference between a turnip and a rutabaga?  So was I.  Some quick Google research revealed that turnips are a Paleolithic food, cultivated around the world and revered by the Romans.  Rutabagas are an 18th century result of crossing turnips with cabbages.  Which got me thinking… maple syrup is a Neolithic, North American product.  Like the transformation of sap to syrup the following recipe morphs common ingredients into an unexpectedly delicious dish, one which combines the earthy, nutty flavors and creamy, fibrous textures of turnips and rutabagas, with a healthy dose of Maple Syrup.  Maple Syrup binds all the ingredients while adding a unique, smoky, woodsy flavor, thus eliminating the bitterness often associated with turnips and rutabagas.
2 medium turnips
2 medium rutabagas                                                    
3 cups half and half
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 pinch cayenne
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1/2 cup grated parmesan


Preheat oven 400
Grease and 8″ cast iron skillet or 8X8 baking pan w/butter
Peel turnips and rutabagas and slice as thin as possible, using a mandoline if you’ve got one.  Toss in a bowl with salt and pepper, celery seed and thyme.
Combine half and half, maple syrup, cayenne and nutmeg and heat over medium flame.  Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
Arrange 1/3 turnips and rutabagas in bottom of greased skillet.  Pour 1/3 cream mixture over veges and sprinkle w/cheese, dot with butter; then add another 1/3 turnip/rutabagas, repeating above steps until you’ve used up all your vegetables.  Don’t overfill the dish; the cream mixture should stop just below the top so it doesn’t bubble over in the oven… you may have a bit left over.
Cover with foil and cook for 1/2 hour.  Uncover and cook an additional 45 minutes or until the top is brown and liquid is absorbed.