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March 15, 2004 | by  | in Opinion |
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(Recipe) Kumara

I love kumara. It’s kumarific. Now that I have attempted journalism (see witty neologism previous sentence), I shall get down to business.

Kumara mash

Kumara mash is comfort food at its finest – good as an accompaniment to meat, or to sop up ratatouille etc. Bake them whole, and you will find it really easy to peel them once they cool down. Simply preheat the oven to 200ºC, and prick as many kumara as you need with a fork (allow about one each, depending on their size). Place in an oven tray with a bit of oil, and roast the kumara for 30 – 40 minutes, turning once or twice. When the kumara are soft all the way through, take them out of the oven and leave to cool. Once they are cool, you should be able to peel the skins off with your hands… mash with a bit of honey and reheat before serving!

Scalloped Kumara

My grandfather is one of the few men to have contributed to his church’s recipe book… yay him! This kumara bake is an adaptation of one of his entries, from the little known classic St Paul’s Taupo – Tried and True Recipes (3rd Ed). Serve as a main with salad, or as a side dish. The bacon can easily be omitted for vegetarians.

750g Kumara, peeled and cut into 1cm slices
3 T Butter
2 T Flour
1 Onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 rashers bacon, pre cooked and diced
Salt and pepper
0.25 t each of nutmeg and paprika
2 C milk
1 C tasty cheese, grated
Chopped Parsley

In a saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the onions and garlic over a medium heat until onions are soft. Stir in the flour, bacon, salt, pepper, nutmeg and paprika. Gradually add the milk, stirring continuously. Congratulations, you have now made a (variation on) white sauce! Now, keep stirring until there are no lumps in the sauce. It should start to thicken. When it is about the consistency of custard (but not wallpaper paste), remove the sauce from the heat, add the cheese and stir well.

Layer the kumara in a greased casserole dish, and cover with the sauce – making sure it goes right down to the bottom. Sprinkle with parsley, some more nutmeg and paprika, and a wee bit of grated cheese. Bake at 180ºC for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the kumara is cooked through, turn the oven up to its highest temperature and switch to grill – grill the dish for a few minutes, until the top is golden brown. Eat.

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