This is a favorite from my collection of recipes featuring "bad-rap" veggies. Rutabagas are especially fun to serve because almost no one can guess what they are. Here, cubed and tossed with caramelized onions and tart apples, they are invariably befuddling to dinner guests . . . but they always disappear. Enjoy! —Sandy Smith
4 to 6
tart cooking/baking apples (I like Granny Smith)
Peel onions and cut in half. Slice thinly. Peel and core apples; slice, then julienne into matchsticks about 1/4 inch thick. Toss apples and onions together to combine.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add onion-and-apple mixture and allow to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. About 30 minutes into the cooking time, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of brown sugar over the onion mixture and gently stir in.
When onions are deep golden brown and caramelized, add 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar to pan to deglaze it, and stir, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer until vinegar is absorbed, then turn off heat and set aside.
While the onion mixture is cooking, wash and peel the rutabaga. Cut into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch dice. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook diced rutabaga until tender ~ about 20 minutes. Cooking time will vary according to the size of your dice, so test at 5-minutes intervals. The rutabaga is done when it is fork-tender. Drain well.
Remove onion mixture from pan and melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the same pan. When melted, add rutabaga cubes. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook over medium-low heat until heated through, about 10 minutes.
Add onion mixture back to pan and gently stir into rutabaga cubes. Let cook for a minute or two to heat through. Serve immediately.