Of Kitchen Divas and Clapshot
Meet our newest blogger Kelley Clark. No, we are not related but she does have an Awesome sauce last name. 🙂
Kelley Clark is a geek, writer, artist, skeptic, fan of the Oxford comma, queen of her own quixotic universe, harbinger of awesome, and activist for awesomeness. She also enjoys speaking of herself in the third person.
By day, Kelley is a marketing nerd. By night, she is a bonafide kitchen diva.
“Of Kitchen Divas and Clapshot”
Hello! My name is Kelley, and I’m a bonafide kitchen diva. Scout’s honor.
Culinarily-speaking, my roots are in Continental cuisine. I served my time as a sous-chef at a family-owned German restaurant in Stone Mountain, Ga. Working in this type of environment helped me hone my natural flair for the flavorful with time-honored skills in traditional European cooking. One of the head chefs that I worked under was a sassy southern man, which didn’t hurt either. Sauerbraten? Spoon bread? No problem.
I left the world of professional cheffery because I realized that, while I love the creative process of cooking, I do not enjoy the institutionalization of it on a mass scale.
Fast-forward to today, and – like so many of you – I struggle with eating things that are wholesome and satisfying versus simply what is convenient. My goal is to share tips and tricks around the kitchen to help you narrow the gap between the two and – while we’re at it – cook up some tasty, tasty food.
Lately, I’ve been crazy about the neeps.
Neeps, or – as you probably know them – rutabagas (Brassica napobrassica) are one of my favorite root vegetables. Originally they were a cross between the turnip and the cabbage. They’re known by a slew of other names, including swede or Swedish turnip, depending on where you encounter them. They are low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol, and are a good source of good source of dietary fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, potassium and manganese. Best of all, they can be substituted for plain ol’ white potatoes in most recipes, and – while rutabagas have a higher sugar content than potatoes – they have a lower overall estimated glycemic load than the more familiar potato (5 for the rutabaga versus 26 for the spud).
In Scotland, rutabagas are called neeps (from Old English næp, Latin napus) and they’re best known as part of a national treasure of a dish, neeps and tatties (the Scottish super secret ninja code word for potatoes). Mashed neeps and tatties are featured in the traditional Burns supper, which pairs the dynamic duo with haggis, the national dish of Scotland.
I had the pleasure of spending extensive time in Edinburgh a few years ago, and I fell in love with a variation of the dish called clapshot. While neeps and tatties are traditionally cooked and mashed separately as companion dishes, clapshot, originating from the Orkney Islands in the north of Scotland, throws them all into the pot together.
Here’s my reverse-engineered version of clapshot, just in time to help you figure out what to do with all of your rutabagas:
Clapshot à la Kelleytastic
Skill Level: Safe | Kid Approved: J | Time Required: ~30 minutes | Serves: 4-6
What You Need:
- 1 lb. of rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
- 1 bunch of carrots, peeled and cut into 2” chunks
- 1 lb. of potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 4 T unsalted butter
- ½ t ground nutmeg (freshly ground if at all possible… trust me!)
- ¼ c heavy cream
- 1 T fresh chives, finely sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to Make It Happen:
- Add approximately 1 ½ qt. of water to a 3-qt stock pot. Add the rutabagas and carrots. Bring the water to a boil, and then lower the heat to maintain a rolling boil without allowing the pot to boil over.
- After 5 minutes, add the potatoes to the water. Raise the heat again until the water has come to a boil, and, as before, lower the heat to maintain a rolling boil.
- Boil the combined vegetables for approximately 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent.
- Add the drained root vegetables, the nutmeg, cream, chives, salt, and pepper. Mash well and mix thoroughly.
- Voilà! Enjoy. A lot.