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Season 3, Episode 9: They Call ‘Em ‘Bagas

 

 

Lillie shows Vivian three different ways to bring out the bitter and the sweet in rutabagas. Vivian showers her team with thoughtful holiday gifts as they prepare a New Year’s menu that blends Italian and Eastern North Carolinian influences. A hectic New Year’s Eve at the restaurant ends in a toast and a smile, despite brewing tension.

Vivian’s Cooking Demo

 

Vivian’s Featured Recipe

Stewed Rutabagas

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This stewed rutabagas recipe is courtesy of Chef Vivian Howard, and is featured in the They Call ‘Em ‘Bagas episode of Season 3 of A Chef's Life.

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Ingredients

  • 2 quarts water
  • 8 ounces smoked bacon, preferably slab but
  • slices will work too
  • 2 pounds rutabagas or 8 cups, peeled and cut
  • into a 1 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Combine the water and the bacon in a 4 quart saucepan. Cover and bring it up to a boil. Reduce the eat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add the rutabagas and continue cooking covered for about an hour, checking the water level periodically to make sure the roots are mostly submerged.
  2. The amount of time it takes for the rutabagas to soften up really depends on the age of the roots. I’ve cooked them as little as 30 minutes and as much as 2 hours, so you should test for doneness all along the way. Once the roots are very tender, drain off all but 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and pluck out the bacon.
  3. Add the sugar, salt and pepper. Using a collard chopper or large fork, mash up the rutabagas. You’re looking for a chunky rustic texture. Taste and add a little more cooking liquid or sugar if you like.
  4. Add the salt, and take the collard chopper or a large fork to the roots, greens and sausage like you’ve got something to prove. I don’t normally recommend trying to achieve a mushy mess, but in this case I do.

Yield: Makes 5 cups

 

More Episodes

A Chef’s Life - Season 3, Episode 1: Stop, Squash and Roll

Episode 1: Stop, Squash and Roll

Vivian seeks motherly advice from Mrs. Scarlett and her sister Johna over dinner. Premiered September 5. Check local listings. Continue

A Chef’s Life - Season 3, Episode 2: Pretty in Peach

Episode 2: Pretty in Peach

Mrs. Scarlett teaches Vivian the secrets of Gramma Hill’s canned peaches and shares fond fried chicken memories from her own childhood. Premiered September 12. Check local listings. Continue

A Chef’s Life - Season 3, Episode 3: Gettin' Figgy With It

Episode 3: Gettin’ Figgy With It

Vivian is under the gun to pen an entire book chapter on figs in three days. The stress inspires a fig and honey bourbon slushie tasting with Warren and a fig preserves session with Ms Rose. Premiered September 19. Check local listings. Continue

A Chef’s Life - Season 3, Episode 4: Pickle Perfect

Episode 4: Pickle Perfect

Vivian visits her friend Nancy for a surprisingly comforting combination of homemade pickles, chicken salad, and chocolate cake. Ben and Vivian audition a new chef to offer Ben some relief and much-needed time to focus on his art. Premiered September 26. Check local listings. Continue

A Chef’s Life - Season 3, Episode 5: Prickly Business

Episode 5: Prickly Business

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A Chef’s Life - Season 3, Episode 6: If You Can't Beet Em ...

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A Chef’s Life - Season 3, Episode 7: A Casserole Says Plenty ...

Episode 7: A Casserole Says Plenty

The Boiler Room welcomes a new manager, much to Ben’s delight. A family reunion brings out long-lost relatives, the warmth of fellowship, and an impressive spread of home-cooked casseroles. Premieres October 17. Check local listings. Continue

A Chef’s Life - Season 3, Episode 8: Honey, I'm Home!

Episode Episode 8: Honey, I’m Home!

After a visit from “The Honey Man,” Vivian turns up the heat on a dish that features chicken livers drizzled with hot honey. While Ben preps for his art show in Durham, Vivian descends upon “the Bull City’s” restaurant row to sample sweet, honey-themed dishes. Premieres October 25. Check local listings. Continue

 

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