How to make Swedish root vegetable mash

Swedes don’t tend to go in for cooked vegetables. In the days when I looked after Swedish students visiting the UK I was always listening to moans about why Brits insisted on cooking vegetables. My answers never really satisfied the students. 

One of the exceptions is rotmos (root mash), which Swedes prepare with care and pride. 

Parsnips, swede, turnips and Hamburg parsley are all used for the base, or indeed a combination of the four. For some reason that I’ve not understood, Hamburg parsley is particularly popular in Denmark and so inevitably it is often used in southern Sweden. I don’t often see it in supermarkets elsewhere, but if you have an allotment or space in your garden it is worth growing for a nice change.

Summary

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

1 kg (2 lb) Hamburg parsley, swede, parsnip or turnip

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 carrots (optional)

600 g (1¼ lb) floury potatoes

1-2 tbsp butter or margarine (optional)

Method

1. Peel the vegetables. Cut them into large evenly sized pieces, about 4 cm across.

2. Place the Hamburg parsley, swede, parsnip or turnip into a saucepan and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.

3. Add the carrots and simmer for another ten minutes.

4. Add the potatoes and let everything boil together for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft, without disintegrating.

5. Drain the vegetables but keep the broth.

6. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or using a hand-held electric whisk. Whisk in some butter, if using, and then a little of the reserved broth until you have the right consistency to go with the rest of the meal. Have a taste and season with a little more salt, freshly ground black pepper and more butter, if desired.  

Tips

• Carrots are optional but are worth adding for a little extra colour and flavour.

• You can add some milk or even cream for a richer rotmos.

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food.

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