A recent purchase of Dai Due‘s bison and ginger sausage (Thunderheart Bison and local(!) ginger root) got me hankerin’ for Indian food (no, really?). Armed with a rotund rutabaga, courtesy of Johnson’s Backyard Garden at Sunset Valley Farmers Market, I assembled a one-pot meal, spiced rice dish. Carnivores dug in, lured by lengths of meat.
I don’t cook rutabaga much. It tastes good and sweet and rooty-tooty, and I totally go for that kind of thing. But big bad ‘bagas just don’t show up in our local markets with the same frequency as turnips, radishes and kohlrabi. I offer a cooking suggestion anyways: Cut it into small cubes (take care busting into it–rutabaga’s a tough tuber to crack), then simmer it in a little apple juice with a dab of mustard, a dash of garam masala, a pinch of turmeric and salt to taste. Finish the dish with your best butter (I recommend Lucky Layla from Texas or Organic Valley Pasture butter), fresh cilantro or parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice. I’d pepper it with lots of cracked black pepper, too, but not on the kids’ portions.
If you just can’t get enough rutabaga—I mean if you can get enough, to grace your table again, that is, try this Indian-inspired pilaf.
RUTABAGA RICE WITH SAUSAGE serves a family with possible leftovers, depending on your family size!
- 2 cups Indian or Pakistani basmati rice, rinsed well, soaked in water for 10 minutes, then drained and rested in a sieve for another 10 minutes. I buy 10-pound bags at Fiesta or MGM.
- 1 pound local sausage. Dai Due’s bison and ginger sausage, seductively succulent, blended well with the Indian-spiced flavors in this dish, but a local kielbasa would work, too. I’d also consider it in a bun with sauerkraut and spicy mustard. But that’s a different post.
- 1 good-sized local rutabaga, about as big as a largish grapefruit, well peeled and cut into batons (about 1/3″ thick “short french fry” pieces)
- 3 Tablespoons yogurt. I make my own and it’s easy. Click to see how. I usually use Swede Farm Dairy‘s goat milk, available at SVFM. Other local options include Wateroak Farms’ goat milk (SVFM) and now Way Back When’s cow’s milk available at SVFM and Austin Farmers Market.
- 2 teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger root—I use a Microplane.
- 2 teaspoons minced hot green chile, if you have it and you wanna. Otherwise use about ½ teaspoon paprika.
- 2 Tablepsoons minced local cilantro—growin’ right now!
- ¼ cup organic dessicated shredded coconut—I like Let’s Do…Organic brand, available at our local grocery stores like Central Market and Whole Foods.
- 1 or 2 Tablespoons organic coconut oil. Nutiva in the big ole jar or Whole Foods 365 are usually the best buys.
- 9 whole cloves
- about a 2½” piece of cinnamon stick
- 1 large bay leaf, preferably fresh. Try growing your own! Bay is hardy and easy to care for. My specimen is proof.
- 2 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 ½ to 3 teaspoons salt. I like Real Salt. Whole Foods carries it in the bulk department.
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar—I buy this in bulk at Central Market.
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice from a local and/or organic lemon. I got a mind to puttin’ in a lemon tree soon. Ask your neighbors.
- 3 ¼ cups water
- several very well peeled broccoli stems, diced small. Yep. I’m still going whole hog on broccoli. Use it or lose it!
- lemon wedges, if desired
Combine yogurt with the next four ingredients and mix in the rutabaga. Let the mixture sit while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Combine the whole spices (cloves through the cumin) in a small dish and combine the powdered seasonings (salt through the turbinado sugar) in another small dish. Keep these spice stashes handy.
In a large saute pan or wide casserole pan (stovetop safe), brown the sausage links on all sides over medium-high heat. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the coconut oil and whole spices to the pan and toast on medium-high heat until the cumin smells as browned and toasty as you like. Dump in the rutabaga and stir and fry until the tuber has browned some. Add the powdered spices, lemon juice and water, raise the heat to high, cover the pan with a lid (I prefer a see-through top) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to LOW and cook for 10 minutes. Quickly lift the lid and scatter the broccoli stems over the surface and place the sausages on top. Replace the lid and continue cooking on LOW for another 10 minutes. When finished, place the pan on a cooling rack or trivet and let sit for 10 minutes before carefully fluffing the rice.
Slice the sausages if you want to. And squeeze some lemon juice over individual servings for a little zing.