Rumbledethumps is an unusual recipe, perhaps one of the most unusual we've made over the past year. I think the best way to describe it is to call it a sort of a shepherd's pie for part-time vegetarians.

But isn't it true that the unusual recipes in your repertoire are often the family favorites? You'll find this recipe to be relatively inexpensive, easy to make and absolutely delicious. Oh, and one batch will last you several meals. In short, this is a textbook Casual Kitchen dish.

Laura and I did have a little bit of a disagreement on how closely we should follow the recipe instructions when it came time to eat:

Dan: Hmm. According to the recipe, everyone is supposed to shout 'Death to the Red Hag!' before the first bite. It says that this drives away the specter of starvation.
Laura: Um, let's not and say we did, okay?
Dan: But it says here that we might offend the agricultural spirits!
Laura: Okay, how about you shout it? I'll watch you.
(adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant)

5 large potatoes (2-2 1/2 pounds)
2 1/2 cups chopped cabbage
1 1/2 cups green beans, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 1/2 cups broccoli, coarsely chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon mace (see below)
salt and black pepper to taste
3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1) Peel the potatoes, chop them into chunks and boil them in water for 15-17 minutes until tender.
2) While the potatoes are boiling, steam the carrots, green beans and cabbage for 5-7 minutes, then add the broccoli and steam for another 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender but not mushy.
3) Melt 2 Tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan on low heat. Add the mace. When the vegetables are done, drain them and then drizzle the butter/mace mixture on top of the vegetables.
4) Drain the potatoes and mash them with the milk and 2 more Tablespoons of the butter (a hand-held electric mixer works well for this task). Add salt and black pepper to taste.
5) Combine the vegetables with the mashed potatoes, then spread the entire mixture into a 9x13 inch lasagna pan. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted, bubbling and just beginning to brown.
Serves 6-8 (or 10+ as a side dish).
A few recipe notes: 1) A word on potential recipe modifications: This is an enormously flexible recipe, and the most obvious place to start modifying is with the vegetables, since practically any vegetable can be used in this dish. You can also add meat into the mix--pieces of sausage, cooked chicken or beef. This doesn't have to be a vegetarian dish.

2) What the heck is "mace"? Mace is a spice made from the seedcoat surrounding nutmeg seeds.We were very pleasantly surprised by the unique and unusual flavor the mace added to this dish--I don't really even know how to describe the subtle taste of it. It tastes and smells a bit like nutmeg, and in a pinch you probably could substitute ground nutmeg for mace in this recipe.

One drawback however, was the cost of the mace: a wallet-melting $7.00 for a pathetically small 1.5 ounce jar. My mistake was in leaving the shopping to the last minute and not having a chance to apply some of Casual Kitchen's well-known tips to save money on spices. The checkout girl should have at least kissed me.

Still, if you are okay with the extra expense, use genuine mace. It really helped this dish rise to the extraordinary.

3) You can reheat this dish the next day simply by putting the entire 9x13 pan back in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 275F. It handles a lot like lasagna in this way. And if you're in a rush, just measure out each serving-size portion and microwave it for 40-60 seconds.

4) While making this recipe, I absolutely could not get the song Tubthumping out of my head. Did anyone else have this problem?

Related Posts:
How to Tell if a Recipe is Worth Cooking With Five Easy Questions
Why I'm a Part-Time Vegetarian
A Simple Way to Beat Rising Food Prices

How can I support Casual Kitchen?
If you enjoy reading Casual Kitchen, tell a friend and spread the word! You can also support me by linking to me, subscribing to my RSS feed, or submitting this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to bookmarking sites like, digg or stumbleupon.


KMAYS said...

Thanks for the recipe! I'm going vegetarian for Lent this year and am preparing by hoarding recipes ahead of time so I don't get bored eating spaghetti with marinara once a week.

Daniel said...

Good luck Kmays!! I'd love to hear your thoughts after your Lent experience, and if you plan on sticking with going veggie long term.

Thanks, as always, for reading!


Beth said...

Thanks for posting this recipe last year (!). I had Rumbledethumps at Moosewood for lunch last week when I was visiting Ithaca and fell in love. I made this off of your recipe, substituting leeks and swiss chard for the cabbage, beans, and broccoli. It turned out really yummy!

Daniel said...

Any time Beth, thanks for the feedback and glad to hear you had a great experience making this!