Rotmos, (pronounced “root-moose”) is traditionally a Swedish root vegetable purée made using swede (rutabaga), carrot, and potato.
It works best as an accompaniment to pork knuckle / ham hock dishes – hard core cooks will cook the vegetables in the same water that was used to boil the meat.
It also goes supremely well with more or less any other pork dish you care to mention, especially sausages, as well as most other meat dishes, particularly roasts, or grilled or fried meats.
So popular is the dish in Sweden, that for the short of time or the terminally lazy it is available either pre-cooked in tubes, or in an instant mash-type just-add-hot-water powdered form, neither of which are particularly nice.
When we lived in Belgium, we had to make do with the powdered form, bought at an exorbitant price from the local Scandinavian store. This was because our Belgian hosts, in an act of supreme folly, only considered the noble swede as fit for cattle-feed.
They were nigh-on impossible to buy fresh. A British supermarket, located way out in the Flemish countryside, occasionally got hold of some, but they all too soon vanished once word got out, like an unexpected snowfall on a July afternoon.
Whenever we had Swedish guests come and visit us, they arrived complete with as many swedes as they could carry in their luggage without doing themselves a mischief, supplemented by as many packets of the powdered form of rotmos as they could fit in and still leave room for their own bits and pieces.
In an effort to save weight and space, my father-in-law would dispense with the outer cardboard packaging, leaving just a mysterious orange powder in a somewhat dodgy looking aluminium foil wrapper.
Coupled with what the border officials would have seen as farmyard fodder, one can only guess what the reaction would have been if he’d have been stopped at customs when entering the country.
In this, my Paleo version, I simply swap-out the potato for cauliflower, once again living up to its reputation as the most versatile of all the Brassicas.
Paleo Rotmos with Cauliflower
- Swede (rutabaga), peeled and chopped
- Carrot, peeled and chopped
- Cauliflower florets
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the swede and carrot, in the ratio of 1 part swede to 1 part carrot, into a large pan, in plenty of salted water. Bring to a boil, and drop down to a simmer. Simmer until the vegetables are tender – this time will of course be dependent on the age of the vegetables and the size of the chopped pieces. For a medium chop I’d keep an eye on it after the 40 minute mark, if I were you. Idealistically you want to catch them bang on the point. If they overcook, you’re going to have problems with a watery mash.
- Once the swede and carrot are tender, allow them to drain thoroughly. Give them a good old blast of freshly ground black pepper, as well as a small but not insignificant grating of nutmeg.
- Purée by your preferred method of choice. Set aside.
- Cook the cauliflower florets. Steaming here is good, as there is less chance of the cauliflower becoming watery once mashed. Again, the cauliflower needs to be just tender. If steaming, you’re looking at 5 or 6 minutes maximum.
- Drain the cauliflower (if appropriate), and then mash. Set aside.
- Now comes the fun bit. Mix the cauliflower mash into the root vegetable purée. I’ll leave the exact proportions up to you, but you want to be aiming for something like 3 parts swede and carrot to 1 part mashed cauliflower. Adjust this ratio to your own preference.
- Check the seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Serve.
Some people prefer white pepper in place of the black.
It’s not completely unheard of for some to introduce a little fat into the finished mash, a nod to when the vegetables were commonly cooked in the stock produced when cooking a large lump of fatty pig.
As I touch on above, be careful with cooking times, as overcooking will introduce too much water into the mix.
If you do find yourself with a watery mash, you could either heat it in a non-stick pan over low heat for a short while to cook off any excess moisture, or as a last resort place it into muslin or a clean tea-towel and squeeze the unwanted liquid out.