monster mash: swede with carrots

monster mash!
(swede and carrots)
It was a smash; not exactly a graveyard smash but the living were definitely in a state of high old excitement with my monster mash of swede and carrots. I do like a nice bit of swede, preferably with a load of black pepper and lashings of melting butter. It's probably something to do with my Scottish roots (pun absolutely intended!)

Then one of my lunch guests announced that he for one absolutely loathed swede (caused by post war British school dinners when unfortunate children were expected to clean their plates of mountains of watery, flavourless muck and expected to be thankful for it). In my head I heard a clattering sound as my late Scottish mother turned in her grave and whispered that I should probably show this idiot the door). 

Now, this guest has a reputation for only having a passing acquaintance with diplomacy so I ignored him. There were plenty of other vegetable side dishes, so it wasn't as if he was going to starve. If I am being honest, I was a little irritated. I like to give people what they enjoy eating, but obviously I want to serve things I love too. I can't help what food people do or don't like. All I can do is to try to do the best I can. And the rude guest has certainly got his money's worth out of me over the years - when he is coming for lunch, I double up the quantities as he can eat enough for two, or even three. I am not saying that he is greedy, but he definitely has hollow legs!

(If you are wondering how I can be so rude about a guest, I am secure in the knowledge that he will never read this. Apparently blogs aren't real writing. Or so he lectured me, as well as giving me the full benefit of his opinion on art and culture - photography isn't art and you can't do good theatre on the radio . . .   I only invite him to lunch because I like his wife and they come as unit!)

Mr Tactless later conceded that he used to loathe swede but now he had tasted mine, he had changed his mind. Hip, hip! Although on the one hand, this made me very happy as I do like a good food compliment. On the other hand, I felt a little sad that for some 60 years my guest had never enjoyed the simple pleasures of mashed swede. Hey ho, he has now!

Serves 4
Skill level: Easy

1 x swede, peeled and roughly chopped (about 800g)
250g carrots, roughly chopped
500ml vegetable or chicken stock
2 x garlic cloves, squashed
 x bay leaf
1-2 x sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly ground nutmeg

  1. Cook the swede and carrots in the stock together with the garlic cloves, bay leaf and fresh thyme. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Drain the vegetables, reserving the liquid. Remove the bay leaf and thyme stems. Make sure that the vegetables are very well drained.
  3. Mash the vegetables with the garlic and a little butter. (You can also strip any remaining leaves from the thyme sprigs and add them to the mash.
  4. If you want a smooth puree rather than a mash, then blend until smooth.
  5. If you want a looser puree then add a little of the cooking liquid.
  6. Gently reheat.
  7. Check the seasoning and grind over a little nutmeg and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Add a few knobs of butter before serving, which will melt in the ambient heat.

  • Keep the cooking liquid for sauces, soups or gravy. Be aware that it will be quite sweet from cooking the vegetables but very useful and delicious nonetheless!
  • I served this with brisket braised in beer with parsnips. But I imagine it would be lovely with game such as pheasant, or sausages or roast lamb.


Karen S Booth said...

I, on the other hand, adore swede but not turnip - strange lot aren't we! But, I DO love mashed roots, so this is perfect for me! Karen

Anonymous said...

White pepper instead of black, is what our family have always used in this dish. Much better with swede.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what size swedes you're using, but down here, where I chose the largest swede in the shop, it came to only 300g. Perhaps there's a mistake.

Anonymous said...

ps, tasted great