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what to do w/turnips?

I picked up a bunch of turnips at the farmer's market yesterday but am unsure what to do with them. I'd like something easy-as it will be part of a weeknight meal, and I'll most likely be serving them w/flank steak. My go-to for most vegetables, especially when I am unsure as to how best to cook them, is to roast them in an high temp oven w/olive oil, salt and pepper. Do turnips do well with this method? Any other suggestions or ideas? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Yes - roast them as you described and they'll be great...I like to toss them afterwards with a sauce made from a bit of nutritional yeast and braggs aminos and a touch of sucanat (unrefined sugar) killer!

    1. When I feel really decadent, I drizzle with some truffle oil after roasting.

      1. I've also boiled them briefly before roasting them and then mashing them like potatoes...

        3 Replies
        1. re: jdubboston

          IMO this is the best way to eat a turnip.....even better boil some carrots along with the turnip and mash them too. It really brings out their flavor, adds some sweetness and a makes the final product a bit more colorful.

          1. re: jenniebnyc

            I also like to boil and mash, but I find that the secret is to boil them in chicken stock instead of salted water. The chicken stock tames the pepperiness of the turnip and makes it much more palatable. Otherwise I also boil and then mash or fry up with bacon grease and tons of pepper. Also very good.

            1. re: JungMann

              A touch of freshly grated nutmeg is a wonderful addition to mashed turnips.

        2. If you got them at the farmers' market and they were freshly dug, they might have still had the greens attached like the ones I usually buy. The greens are delicious cooked with a little onion (and of course bacon drippings in my Southern household) and then cubes of turnips. Fresh turnips are sweet and need little to bring out their flavor. They are a nice counterpoint to the bitter greens.
          The greens are good as a veggie on their own or used in a frittata, just like beet greens.
          Turnips are wonderful just steamed with a little butter, salt and pepper.
          If they are very young and sweet, they can be shredded into "angel hair" or a thin julienne and served raw, dressed with a mild sweet salad dressing.

          Always try to buy turnips with the greens attached. You know they're fresh that way. They get bitter as they get old. Probably why people have bad memories of them from days when they were a winter storage vegetable. Those were just awful!

          1. If you boil and mash, here's a tip I learned from my mother...sometimes they are have a slight bitter taste after they're cooked. Simply mix in a lttle mashed potato and the bitterness goes away. You could also add a little brown sugar if you want.

            1. I think there is a german dish called Himmel und Erde - Heaven and earth. Apples and turnips

              1. funny, in Dutch that dish is called Hete Bliksem...or hot lightening.

                1. You can make turnip soup from them. Boil in water or stock, puree, add a little cream if you want to make it richer, finish with some truffle oil. Very nice on a cold winter's day. You can add some chopped onion or shallots slowly cooked in oil or butter, herbs or even some cooked, chopped bacon. But the delicate taste of turnip is what you're after so don't overwhelm it with other flavors.

                  1. Turnips are really good braised, or in chunky veggie soups. You can make turnip fries or oven fries, too.

                    1. Raw Turnip Root Salad:
                      1 part peeled raw turnip root, coarsely grated
                      1/2 as much diced unpeeled raw apple or canned or fresh pineapple chunks
                      chopped walnuts or pecans to taste ( lightly toasted are best)
                      dijon mustard to taste
                      kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
                      good quality mayonnaise to lightly bind
                      Mix,Chill and Enjoy !

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: iqdiva52

                        that's a great idea - very inventive. i'll try it asap.

                      2. I always include rutabagas (turnips' cousins, aka Suedes) in my beef stew. They add lots of flavour, as well as great texture. Keep the pieces big and chunky. In my opinion, eating stew requires a knife and fork; no bite-sized pieces for me.

                        1. I peel and cut them into thinnish wedges, then saute them in butter. Toward the end, I add a couple teaspoons of honey and continue cooking until they are getting brown and spotty. A little grey salt, a little pepper...yum.

                          1. Note that most of the recipes posted call for the addition of some type of sugar or a sweet vegetable or fruit note (apples or carrots.) Many others call for mashing. This may not be necessary unless you choose.
                            A lot of these methods are what we are used to doing because turnips are a root vegetable that was stored for the winter. They were often allowed to grow very large which made them woody so they had to be mashed to be palatable. After they are dug and the greens separated, they gradually lose their natural sweetness; something had to be added to cut the bitterness.
                            If you get small, fresh turnips, you may not need to add any type of sweetener or mash them unless you wish to. Cook them simply first and taste them naked.
                            Food in our markets has changed since our grandparents lived out of rootcellars and from things stored for long winters.

                            1. I always use turnips in my pot roast. They add an amazing layer of flavor and are my favorite vegetable in the whole recipe. I also coat peeled, quartered turnips with olive oil and put them in the pan roasting a Thanksgiving turkey during the last 30 minutes or so, tossing them in the turkey drippings from time to time. They make a great side dish with almost no effort.

                              1. I love them in stews and soups, mashed, in cole slaw. I once had them thinly sliced, dipped in egg batter, and lightly breaded and fried. Not bad, but rutabagas work better for that.

                                1. I love turnips all ways. My mom used to make this amazing mashed turnips/carrot combo, but she never wrote it down and when she died young, it went with her! (Don't wait to ask your moms and dads for their secret recipes!)

                                  The best turnips I have ever had, ever, are at The Union Square Cafe in NYC. Here is the recipe. Even people who think they hate turnips will devour these:

                                  Mashed Yellow Turnips
                                  with Crispy Shallots

                                  1 1/2 cups light olive or vegetable oil
                                  9 tbs butter
                                  5 to 6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
                                  2 large yellow turnips (rutabaga), about 4 pounds
                                  2 tsp kosher salt
                                  1 cup milk
                                  6 tbs butter
                                  ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

                                  1. In a saucepan, heat the oil with 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat until it begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low, and the shallots, and cook until they are a rich golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir the shallots occasionally while they are cooking to make sure they brown evenly.
                                  2. Remove the shallots from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Once the shallots have dried and crisped, in about 15 minutes, they can be stored in a cool place, covered, for several days. Serve the shallots at room temperature.

                                  3. Peel the turnips to remove their waxy skins and cut them into generous 1-inch chunks. Place them in a saucepan with water to cover and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until easily pierced by a paring knife, about 35 minutes.

                                  4. In a separate saucepan, heat the milk and remaining 6 tablespoons butter over low heat until the butter has melted and the milk just begins to simmer.

                                  5. Drain the turnips and puree (in several batches, if necessary) in a food processor. With the motor running, add the melted butter and milk in a steady stream. The turnips should be very smooth.

                                  6. Return the turnip puree to the saucepan, season with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper and reheat, stirring over a medium flame. Serve piping hot, sprinkled generously with crispy shallots.

                                  1. for your next turnip score, when you're not needing them in a few days for a side dish, consider making turnip pickles:

                                    2 cups water
                                    1/4 cup pickling salt
                                    2 lbs. turnips
                                    1 Beet
                                    3 cloves garlic
                                    1 C white vinegar
                                    1 bunch of radishes
                                    hot peppers to taste.

                                    Boil water and salt so salt is dissolved, then cool. Cut turnips in half lengthwise, then in 1/4 inch slices. Cut beet similiarly. Smash garlic. Cut radishes in half or thirds. Toss the radishes, garlic, beets to mix and put in a jar. Toss in the hot peppers, if you're using them. Add the vinegar to the cooled salt water and pour into the jar. Cover jar and stick it in the back of the fridge -- come back in threeish weeks.

                                    The turnips & radishes will be a lovely bright pink colour

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: orangewasabi

                                      That sounds fabulous!
                                      But "pickling salt"? Do you mean "kosher salt"? Non-iodized? Or is this something special?

                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                        pickling salt is a specific thing -- it's ground salt, though a bit coarser than table salt, not rocky like kosher. Morton makes one that's pretty cheap -- it's iodine and other stuff free (I am not entirely sure what it is free of, to be honest). You can use regular table salt, it'll taste fine, just won't be as pretty (it'll turn the liquid kinda cloudy).

                                        1. re: orangewasabi

                                          That recipe looks so good that I'm going hunting for this stuff! I'll bet they stock it by the canning supplies.
                                          I'm always on the look-out for relishes and pickles particularly for my winter table. Something about that tang that seems to offset the heaviness of so many winter foods. The pink will be pretty too. Hard to get in winter!

                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                            lol, I almost said . . . it's in the aisle with the Mason jars but thought that'd be too seasonal. You'll love the colour -- there's nothing quite like it . . . almost fuchsia. If I may make a reco, for the first time leave out the hot peppers. It really doesn't need it, the turnips and radishes have enough bite as it is. The hot peppers are just for people who have to have everything HOT.

                                    2. I also bake them in olive oil with several whole garlic cloves, whole sage leaves, dried thyme and dried basil. I usually bake them with halved large brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes cut into 1/3 inch rounds at 350 for about 35 minutes. Yum. You can also cook carrots with them, too.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Kaisgraham

                                        That sounds fantastic, I may do that this weekend!!

                                      2. Thanks for all of the great recs. As it was a week/worknight when I ended up cooking them, I simply roasted them in a 425 degree oven w/a sprinkling of salt and pepper, minced garlic, chopped sage and drizzled w/olive oil. Both my husband and I thought they tasted like sweet onions; very tasty but not what I had been expecting. For some reason, I thought they would be a bit more starchier-similar to a potato.

                                        1. I like to julienne them, then boil them very briefly (they go quickly this thin). Finally, toss them with a small amount of butter and a bit of pepper.

                                          I you have a mandoline this ends u being a very fast "weeknight" preparation.

                                          1. I usually boil them until tender w/ a bit of butter and brown sugar. Sometimes a small touch of maple syrup does the trick too.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: DetectDave

                                              That's what I do with carrots, will have to try with turnips... have a great steady source of upstate NY maple syrup from relatives, and always happy for another application.

                                            2. I peel them, slice like french frys, place in boiling water for 1 minute to remove the bitterness, drain/rinse in cold water.
                                              I then make a cassarole with the Turnips. Mix with 1-2 eggs, some breadcrumbs,salt & pepper. Bake at 375 for about 45 min. Its Delicious and low calorie too.

                                              1. Try substituting turnips for potatoes in an old-fashioned Scallop or Gratinnee dish. I use a cheese sauce made from pecorino or a very old cheddar to stand up to the turnips strong flavour. I had this first in Lisbon served with cod and have found that it works well with any white fish.

                                                1. My son loves raw turnip so I send it in his lunch. Also shred turnip into turkey or chicken soup it adds something great to the broth.

                                                  But my favourite turnips dish is a faux souflle that is the best side dish for Thanksgiving. I will hunt down the recipe. It is so easy yet showy and amazing as a leftover with gravy.

                                                  1. eat them raw with salt, pepper, and lime juice