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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The lowly rutabaga makes a delicious casserole (lanttulaatikko).

For dinner tonight, we had lanttulaatikko, a very traditional casserole in Finland at Christmas time.  It is surprisingly sweet and satisfying.  

I started by peeling and cubing two rutabagas and boiling them for 20 minutes in salted water.

Rutabagas are very solid, a little difficult to cut up.  This picture shows a whole peeled rutabaga and one that I am cutting into cubes.  Isn't my coffee cup in the background beautiful?  It was a present from my sister-in-law, Taika by Arabia.   After they boiled, I used a stand mixer to mash them thoroughly.  

In another bowl, I combined 1/4 cup cream with what should have been 1/4 cup of DRY breadcrumbs.  I had to make my own out of bread from the freezer, so I used closer to 1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs.  After mixing in two beaten eggs, a teaspoon of salt, and a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, I added it to the beaten rutabagas.  The mixture then went into a 1.5 quart greased casserole.  The top is dotted with butter like this:


After about an hour in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven, it was lightly browned and ready to eat.  It was quite sweet already, but some Finnish recipes call for a little "siirapi" which translates as syrup, but unless you shop at Ikea, it would be impossible to find in the U.S.  I usually substitute brown sugar for "siirapi" in recipes, and the flavor is very authentic.  Maple syrup would probably taste ok in this dish, but I would never use the U.S. syrups we have generally available in a Finnish dish.  Finnish syrup has a molasses taste, much like brown sugar.

So the results are in, 4 out of 5 family members enjoyed the casserole.  My first grade son smeared it around his plate and then asked if he could get a new plate and a ham sandwich...I guess I should count the dogs as enjoying it, too!

My high schooler who loves science might not have enjoyed it if he had seen the Wikipedia page for rutabaga,  evidently the bitter taste is a thiocyanate, but " there have been no reports of ill effects in humans from the consumption of glucosinolates from normal amounts of Brassica vegetables."  Normal amounts.  Makes me wonder what a normal amount would be for a teenage boy... 

Hope you enjoy making this casserole as much as I did, it is a very authentic taste of Finland.

Thursday is craft day on Brushes and Paint...today I am making lankatonttuja...if you enjoy Finnish recipes, check out my art blog every Thursday for a fun seasonal craft.

4 comments:

  1. I have eaten this every Christmas since the day I was born...It's not Christmas dinner without it! Just found your blog today, going to have to try out some of your recipes!

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  2. Thanks! Hope you enjoy...if you are on Facebook, I have started a new Cooking Finland page with a great visual index to my blog.

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