This is the second part of my three-part series of autumn dishes featuring Rutabaga
Rutabaga (aka kålrot, kålrabi, swede) is one of those vegetables that can easily be overlooked, but has long been used in Norwegian and Scandinavian cooking. It takes on a whole other flavor and quality when cooked and this cheesy rutabaga bake merely affirms just how amazing rutabaga is.
In case you missed it, the first recipe featured was Flourless Rutabaga Roulade with Cardamom Cream. This time around, I wanted a savory take on rutabaga. When combined with cheese, bread, and beer, it makes for one incredibly rich and delicious comfort dish. To round it off, I pair it with vinegary spinach leaves and top it with toasted brown mustard seeds and some grated horseradish.
Casseroles are my ideal way to cook in the later autumn months. Everything in one pot, cooking away slowly in the oven, and then served straight from the dish it’s cooked in. They can serve a crowd and are great “cabin” dishes – longed for after hours of being outdoors hiking or skiing. And this particular recipe can be served as an appetizer, alongside a main, or even by itself.
Rutabaga tends to have an earthy, yet slightly sweet flavor when baked. Pairing it with cream and cheese brings out those flavors even more, especially when a good pale ale is thrown in as well. I tend to use a mix of four cheeses, one always being blue cheese. It just adds a distinct saltiness that elevates the dish. Brown mustard seeds are quite aromatic, and less bitter than yellow mustard seeds. They give a subtle pop to the dish (and crunch), which I like. The horseradish provides that well-needed bite to cut through all the dairy and bread.
Overall, this is one of my favorite dishes to serve with rutabaga. It’s easy to pull together and is satisfying all around. The bread also holds up nicely so you don’t get a sloppy dish, but rather a balance of soft and crunchy textures.
You can certainly serve the cheesy rutabaga bake alone, but I think the vinegary greens, mustard seeds, and horseradish bring it to a whole other level. You can serve them alongside the casserole and let people help themselves.
If you’re inspired to use rutabaga, don’t miss out on the other recipes in this series: Flourless Rutabaga Roulade with Cardamom Cream and Rutabaga, Cranberry, and Almond Crisp Breads. And for a lighter touch, try my Rutabaga and Apple Salad.
Cheesy Rutabaga, Bread & Beer Bake with Vinegary Greens, Toasted Mustard Seeds, and Horseradish
For the Rutabaga Bake:
- 2.2 pounds (1 kg) rutabaga, peeled and ends removed
- 1 pound (400 g) cheese (I use an equal mix of Norvegia (Norwegian white cheese), cheddar, blue cheese, and Jarlsberg – feel free to use what you have available, but please don’t skip out on the blue cheese unless you absolutely must)
- 1 large baguette
- 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) heavy cream
- 1 cup (240 ml) pale ale
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 garlic clove, minced
For the Vinegary Greens:
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound (400 g) baby spinach leaves or greens
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- White vinegar, to taste
- Brown mustard seeds, toasted
- Horseradish, grated
Preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C .
Cut the rutabaga into small cubes, about ¾-inch / 2 cm. Place the cubes into a casserole dish (I use an 8 x 12 in /20 x 30 cm). Add in ¾ of the cheese, reserving the rest for later, and mix together with the rutabaga cubes. Spread out everything evenly.
Slice the baguette (I use 12 slices for this dish, but you may need more or less, depending upon the size of your casserole dish). Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, until toasted.
Meanwhile, whisk the heavy cream, pale ale, spices, and garlic together. Warm the mixture in a saucepan over medium heat. Warming the mixture first makes the whole cooking process go by much faster once everything is in the oven. Remove and pour over the rutabaga and cheese.
Cover the casserole with foil and bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, take the casserole out and remove the foil. Place the baguette slices on top, pressing them a little into the sauce and turning them over so every part of them gets some of the sauce. Layer them across the top and sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
Add a little butter to your foil to prevent the cheese sticking to the foil when it cooks, and place over the top of the casserole again. Bake 25 minutes. Remove the foil and then bake for a final 10 minutes to get the top crispy.
To make the vinegary greens, heat the oil in large saucepan. Add in the garlic and cook just until it begins to brown. Add the spinach leaves or other greens and stir (you might need to add them in batches depending upon the size of your pan). When they begin to wilt, season with some salt and pepper. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated, stirring often. Remove from the heat and add in the vinegar to taste.
When the casserole is finished, toast some brown mustard seeds in a dry pan. Remove.
Serve the casserole right away alongside the vinegary greens. Garnish with the toasted brown mustard seeds and the grated horseradish.