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Rutabagas are a root vegetable known primarily in New England, where they may be part of a Yankee boiled dinner or winter hash, and in the South, where they are found on the vegetable roster of meat-and-three eateries. In the latter role, they usually are cooked soft and cubed but sometimes mashed. They pack a sweet earth flavor with a hint of peppery tingle. Rutabagas are a traditional ingredient in the pasties of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where pasty maestro Brian Harsch of Jean-Kay’s pasty shop in Marquette explained their value as part of the filling. “The rutabaga is an amazing vegetable,” he rhapsodized. “Aside from its own flavor, it works with whatever else is in there to keep the moisture flowing. It is a conduit.”