Nana’s Rutabagas with Pork

WaTeasa Freeman
Southern Kitchen
Nanas Rutabagas

Nana’s Rutabagas with Pork

Serves: 8 to 10

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 16 hours and 30 minutes


2 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, tied into a single roast with butcher’s twine

5 large garlic cloves, halved

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 (1-pound) rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup sugar, plus more to taste

2 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Pepper vinegar

Apple cider vinegar


Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Use a paring knife to poke 10 slits about 1 inch deep all around the pork shoulder. Stick one garlic halve in each slit. Aggressively season the pork shoulder with salt and pepper. 

In a large Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork shoulder and sear until well-browned on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to the oven and roast until fork-tender, 3 to 4 hours. Let rest in the pot until cool enough to handle.

Use two forks to shred the pork into bite-sized pieces, leaving all drippings and cooking liquid in the pot. Add the rutabagas and sugar. Pour in enough chicken broth to come to the top of the meat and vegetables. Add water, if needed, to fill the pot. Season with salt and pepper. 

Place the pot over high heat and bring the cooking liquid to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rutabaga is very tender and the sauce is fully-flavored, about 12 hours. (See note.)

After 12 hours of cooking, taste the stew and season with additional salt and sugar, if needed. Skim off any excess fat from the top of the stew. Stir in vinegars to taste, and serve hot.

About the recipe

This hearty stewed rutabaga and pork dish came to us from Southern Kitchen reader Crissy Brooks. It was originally published in Saving Southern Recipes.

This dish is easiest to make if you sear and roast the pork in the afternoon and then let the stew simmer with the rutabegas overnight. (It needs 12 hours of simmering to be at its best.) If you’re uncomfortable leaving the stove on overnight, you can easily transfer the roasted pork, its cooking liquid and rutabagas to a slow cooker and cook it on low overnight.

If you’d like to serve the dish as an entree, use four pounds of pork shoulder. If you’d prefer the dish to function more as a vegetable side, drop the pork amount by half. Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to taste. As written, the sugar will balance out the bitterness of the turnips but the dish will not taste particularly sweet. Finally, be generous with salt and vinegar. We like to season the finished dish with a combination of pepper vinegar and apple cider vinegar, but feel free to use vinegars of your choice.