I remember visiting my grandparents in Quebec when I was very little. We arrived fairly late in the evening after a long 8 hour car ride, but my grandparents had dinner ready on the table for us. There was some kind of roasted meat, a few dishes of vegetables, and mashed potatoes. I scooped out a big pile onto my plate and dug in. Something wasn’t right and I burst into tears. My grandmother’s mashed potatoes were full of cooked mashed carrots. I liked carrots, but the combination was an abomination to my tender tastebuds.
After all these years, I still haven’t tried putting together carrots and potatoes, the memory of those tears linger deep. But you’ll be happy to know, that I do love mixing other vegetables into my mashed potatoes. This colcannon for one is delicious and I’ve been known to stir in sautéed cabbage into my mashed potatoes, thank you very much. I’m not a mashed potato brat anymore. And I’ve got this dish chockfull of rutabagas and broccoli to prove it.
Rutabagas and potatoes are an easy match. The former lends a buttery golden hue along with a hint of earthy sweetness to the simple potato. But as the potatoes and rutabagas were boiling away, getting softer and ready to mash, I decided that these golden vegetables needed a bit of green. So I chopped up a head of broccoli and added it into the simmering pot. Instead of mashing the whole shebang into velvety softness, I left things a little chunky. Smashing rather than mashing is the key word. Also, you’ll note that I leave the skins on the potatoes. It keeps this dish rugged and texturally interesting. After all, this isn’t fine dining.
You don’t need to go heavy on the butter because there’s a lot of flavour going on. But I did decide to amp things up with a little bit of grated extra strong cheddar cheese. I leave the cheese as an option – if you’re vegan, leave it out and sub in some Earth Balance instead of the butter. However, as much as we all like to play around with recipes, please, please, please, do not leave out the green onions! It just isn’t as delicious without it.
smashed potatoes with rutabaga & broccoli
1 lb potatoes, well scrubbed with skins on
1 small rutabaga (aka swede), peeled
1 small head of broccoli
1/2 c whole milk
1-2 T butter
salt & pepper
1/3 c grated extra strong cheddar cheese (optional)
2 green onions, diced
Chop potatoes into a large dice and add them to a large pot. Chop the rutabaga into a similar size and add to the pot. Cover with water, top with a lid and bring to the boil. Add a dash of salt to the water and reduce heat to medium low and cook until potatoes and rutabaga are nearly done, about 15-20 minutes. Chop the broccoli into florets and stems and add to the pot and let cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 10 minutes.
Drain water completely from the pot and add in the milk, butter, a half teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Mash well, but leave in some lumps. You may need to add more milk to get the texture you’re looking for. Add in the grated cheese and mash just a bit more. Taste to adjust seasoning and stir in the green onions. Transfer to a serving dish.