TasteFood by Lynda Balslev

These Roots Are Smashing

Root vegetables are fall and winter’s best-kept secret. Packed with nutrients, natural sugars and starch, the humble root is a healthy and flavorful substitute for the ubiquitous russet potato and a superb way to get your vitamins and nutrients in the cold-weather season. A good peel of skin reveals a rainbow of antioxidant-rich colors ranging from magenta to ochre to buttery yellow, sure to brighten any gray day -- and your holiday table.

Feel free to mix and match roots, such as sweet potato, parsnip, rutabaga, carrot, celery root, and of course the dependable russet, to your taste and preference. Try to choose a balance of sweet and savory roots for even flavor, and mash them to your desired consistency. It’s OK if the mash is a little chunky -- it provides a nice rustic presentation.

This recipe calls for a combination of sour cream and Greek yogurt in the mash, which creates a balance of smooth richness and tangy lightness. So long as you use a combined amount of 1 cup, you can opt for all of one or the other.

Smashed Roots

Active Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

3 pounds mixed roots (such as 1 pound each of sweet potato, celery root and rutabaga)

Salt

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt

Freshly ground black pepper

Peel the root vegetables and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place the vegetables in a large pot with 2 teaspoons salt and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Drain the vegetables and return them to the pot; cool 5 minutes. Add the garlic and butter and mash with a potato masher until the butter is melted. Add the sour cream and yogurt and continue to mash until the ingredients are blended and the mash is to your desired consistency (I like mine a little chunky). Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, taste for seasoning, and add more if desired.

Spoon into a serving bowl and serve warm.

Prepare ahead:

The mash may be prepared up to 1 day in advance of serving. Cool completely and transfer to a buttered gratin dish. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving.

To reheat, heat the oven to 325 degrees. Dot the top of the mash with about 1 tablespoon of finely diced butter and cover with foil. Bake in the oven until heated through, 30 to 40 minutes.

CAPTIONS AND CREDITS