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Turnip. WTF do I do with this thing?

hooliganyouth Mar 17, 2008 01:40 PM

Once or twice or several times a year I start getting all riled up and seek out new vegetables/greens/roots and I just decided to give turnips a chance.

The only problem now is how I make them taste worth while and not like Soviet-era gulag fare?

Sure there's the "treat them like potatoes" route but I'm looking for something new. If I want potatoes I'll have them.

What tricks do you guys have? Are there any particularly interesting & flavourful recipes out there?

  1. Megiac Mar 24, 2008 09:16 AM

    I have come to the conclusion that lamb and turnips are natural partners. I posted last week about a great Indian Lamb and Turnip stew, and then for Easter Dinner the husband made a Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables from Julia Child (Navarin D'Agneau Printanier from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1). Turnips were prominently featured, and it was once again delicious.

    1. w
      wayne keyser Mar 20, 2008 09:53 PM

      Try yellow turnips (rutabagas) - a whole different critter.

      Cut up, boiled until fairly soft, mashed with a bit of butter and sugar ... yum!

      1. FoodieKat Mar 20, 2008 09:43 PM

        Peel it, chop it into chunks, and put it into a winter vegetable stew, with some butternut and other assorted squash, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, barley, and swede (rutabega). Add some savoury, aromatic spices, and you've got a delicious, warming meal. Simple and hearty, but delicious.

        1. alanbarnes Mar 20, 2008 01:26 PM

          Another thing to try--yesterday at lunch I had an absolutely incredible turnip soup at Chez Panisse. Hints of horseradish and leeks, but mostly just turnipy goodness. A few swirls of pureed turnip greens provided an interesting visual counterpoint. It almost made me sad that winter is ending, but that melancholy disappeared with the arrival of garden peas and asparagus that came with the mains...

          1. Passadumkeg Mar 20, 2008 01:22 PM

            Why don't we have swede in the US? Or do we?

            6 Replies
            1. re: Passadumkeg
              MMRuth Mar 20, 2008 01:27 PM

              We do I believe - it's either turnip or rutabaga - never remember which.

              1. re: MMRuth
                Pistou Mar 20, 2008 01:55 PM

                Yes, the British call them Swedes, we call them rutabagas.

                My mother made a salad with shredded rutabaga and caraway seeds when we were kids. It was really good and everyone was always shocked to learn that they were eating, and enjoying! rutabagas.

                1. re: MMRuth
                  FoodieKat Mar 20, 2008 09:46 PM

                  Swede is called rutabega in the US. I found that out when looking for it in the produce aisle. I love mashed swede (rutabega). It makes a nice alternative to potatoes.

                  1. re: FoodieKat
                    oryza Mar 22, 2008 10:21 AM

                    try rutabaga gratin, too. I had it the other night. Just cut the slices real thin, it tastes better.

                2. re: Passadumkeg
                  Diana Mar 21, 2008 07:31 AM

                  swede is a rutabega, neeps are turnips.

                  when making a proper cornish pastie, one should use neeps

                  1. re: Diana
                    Steamed Dumpling Mar 21, 2008 12:08 PM

                    I'm much more familiar with pasties from the U.P. of Michigan, but I have had them in Cornwall as well. For me, a pasty without rutabaga is not a pasty.

                3. d
                  Diana Mar 20, 2008 01:20 PM

                  I like to roast mine with butter and a little brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Seriously. Or toss them in melted butter, a sprinkle of sugar, and bake em

                  Or, toss them in a little salt, olive oil, a dash of sugar and smoked paparika. Sautee or bake.

                  They are also good grilled with a brushing of oil or butter, salt and pepper.

                  Take a raw turnip and pass it through the small little strip blade of you mandoline or erhaps grate it through the big holes of a box grater. Salt it, let it rest. Squeeze out the salt and use it instead of potatoes to make latkes.

                  Or, make the same shreds, leave it raw, and pickle it in 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1/2 lemon, a tsp of dried ginger, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and a sugar or honey to taste. Mix in a little shredded carrot for extra flavor.

                  1. g
                    gourmanda Mar 20, 2008 01:16 PM

                    Whatever you do, don't get the really pretty pink ones and think they are a new variety of beet and then proceed to boil them for 45 minutes. You won't like anything about it.

                    1. d
                      divamon Mar 20, 2008 12:59 PM

                      is it a turnip or a rutabaga - is it small and white an purple - then it's a turnip and makes a great soup, especially if you have some parsnips to put in there as well If it's huge an yellow and waxy and hard as a rock then it's a rutabaga and the only thing I know to do with those is to boil and mash them (and even so they're not so hot!)

                      1. hooliganyouth Mar 19, 2008 10:33 AM

                        You guys rule. Thanks for the help. Now I can add them to my list of "Things I enjoy because I'm a grown-up." list.

                        1. p
                          Pistou Mar 18, 2008 11:14 AM

                          Wow, turnip and pears. Whoda thunk? I'm going to have to try that.

                          Anyway, I just recently polished off a whole lot of turnips that had been lurking and collecting from my CSA box by making a gratin as suggested above, with the epicurious link. As we say in my house, there is nothing that heavy cream and cheese cannot fix. (Fwiw, I usually use gruyere, not parmesan in my turnip gratin.)

                          1. MeffaBabe Mar 18, 2008 10:46 AM

                            i peel them and boil them with some peeled carrots. When tender I mash them both together with some butter and serve... they are delicious!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MeffaBabe
                              cackalackie Mar 20, 2008 10:20 AM

                              Yep - that's what I do, too! I love them that way!

                            2. Megiac Mar 18, 2008 09:47 AM

                              There is a wonderful recipe for Moghul lamb stew with turnips in Madhur Jaffray's Indian Cooking. If you are interested, I could paraphrase the recipe.

                              1. p
                                pengcast Mar 18, 2008 09:46 AM

                                I also shred turnip really fine and add it to chicken or turkey soup. It adds a nice sweet flavour. And if you use the noodles that look like Lipton soup, the kids can't tell the difference between the turnip and the noodles.

                                1. Bat Guano Mar 18, 2008 09:45 AM

                                  Try this: turnip and pear puree.


                                  It sounds slightly weird, but it is seriously good. I mean, your-eyes-will-roll-back-in-your-head good.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Bat Guano
                                    ExercisetoEat Mar 21, 2008 10:30 AM

                                    Oh, yes. This puree is absolutely fantastic. I've made it twice and can not imagine ever having prime rib without it now. It just wouldn't be right. I can't even describe how absolutely wonderful it is, just go try it!

                                    1. re: Bat Guano
                                      DGresh Mar 24, 2008 09:27 AM

                                      I've made this twice in the last 5 days, it was so well-received. I messed with the proportions a bit (more pear, less turnip) just based on what I had available--A really nice side dish.

                                    2. p
                                      pengcast Mar 18, 2008 09:44 AM

                                      I can not imagine Thanksgiving or Christmas without turnip souffle. It is amazing with turkey gravy. I will hunt down the recipe and post it.

                                      My son takes raw turnip sticks in his lunch.

                                      1. JungMann Mar 18, 2008 07:24 AM

                                        I find that some people find plain turnips very strong tasting. Peppery is how I would describe. To offset that flavor, I was taught to mash them with fat, particularly plenty of bacon fat and to top with crunchy bits for extra texture. When mashing, also be careful not to add liquid, otherwise you will end up with a runny mash.

                                        1. sarah galvin Mar 17, 2008 07:22 PM

                                          I actually love turnip and I cook them just like potatoes! But I also like to add them to Moroccan couscous along with carrots, onions, raisins, figs, etc.

                                          1. Passadumkeg Mar 17, 2008 06:41 PM

                                            Turnip pear pie is a traditional Finnish dessert

                                            1. im_nomad Mar 17, 2008 06:12 PM

                                              this sounds good but i haven't made it yet


                                              I recently found a turnip hiding out in the back corner of the fridge....have no idea when i had bought it, but it was still hard so what the heck. I was making a navratan korma that night and did a bit of a fridge cleaner with a few things in there...and turnip sticks went in the mix....it was pretty good !!

                                              I second roasting them, carrots, turnip and parsnips done with brown sugar and butter in the oven tip the tips brown...mmmm.

                                              1. e
                                                Ellen Mar 17, 2008 05:38 PM

                                                I love them mashed with potatoes and parsnips. They add lots of flavor and lightness to the mash. I cook them all together and then mash like regular potatoes with hot milk and butter, S&P. Sorry, but that's how I like them. Everyone I serve them to likes them too. Roasted with other root vegetables tossed in EVOO, sea salt and pepper works well too. I'm not so fond of their taste by themselves.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Ellen
                                                  zataar Mar 17, 2008 05:59 PM

                                                  Caramelized turnips are good. Peel and slice the turnip into 3/4 in thick slices. Blanch them in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, drain and pat dry. Saute the slices in olive oil and butter for a few minutes, then sprinkle them with a little sugar. When they start browning, add small amounts of chicken stock, boiling it away before adding more stock. Season with salt and pepper along the way. Keep adding small amounts of stock, reducing and turning ocassionally, until the turnip slices are a rich golden brown an tender. Really good with roasted chicken.

                                                2. WCchopper Mar 17, 2008 04:44 PM

                                                  I put them in beef stew.

                                                  1. l
                                                    link_930 Mar 17, 2008 04:20 PM

                                                    You're too funny! I find myself in many a similar situation. I like to braise them with carrots and onion, then mash all together, leaving large chunks. Chop and fry up some ham or bacon, make a white gravy, and eat over a good olive loaf with a bit of cheese on top.

                                                    1. DanaB Mar 17, 2008 03:56 PM

                                                      I like including turnips with other root veggies (like potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes and carrots) and roasting them with olive oil, garlic and rosemary. All root vegetables benefit from roasting, and turnips provide a pleasant counter-balance to some of the other veggies (like carrots and sweet potatoes) that get sweeter when roasted.

                                                      1. g
                                                        GloriaSwansonsTVdinner Mar 17, 2008 03:23 PM

                                                        Make this. Your friends will think you are absolutely amazing:

                                                        Romanian Turnip Salad
                                                        Salata de gulii

                                                        From this site:

                                                        Here it is slightly re-written to satisfy the copyright police:

                                                        3 turnips, washed, peeled and thinly sliced
                                                        vinegar - cider or white - I use cider
                                                        2 tablespoons oil - olive or vegetable. Your choice - I use olive oil

                                                        I lay the sliced turnips on a salad plate, sprinkle with a little salt and drizzle with oil and vinegar. Leave in refrigerator for a half hour or until dinner is ready - good very cold. It helps to get the smallest turnips at the store. Make sure they're not withered and weird.

                                                        For some reason, calling it Romanian Turnip Salad makes it taste even better. (I also like turnips washed, peeled, cooked and mashed with A LOT of butter and salt. I don't know what that's called in Romania. Tasty, I guess.


                                                        Also good raw (sliced or diced) in a regular tossed salad.

                                                        1. s
                                                          soupkitten Mar 17, 2008 02:57 PM

                                                          just do 'em up with the rest of your roasted veggies-- particularly good with potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, tossed in evoo, sea salt and thyme, or alternately cumin & chili, or your favorite spice mixture, or put them under a roasting chicken.

                                                          1. Marge Mar 17, 2008 02:53 PM

                                                            I love mashed turnips with crispy shallots.

                                                            1. scubadoo97 Mar 17, 2008 02:52 PM

                                                              How about pink turnip pickles. A Middle Eastern favorite.

                                                              2 lbs of turnips peeled and cut into slices. You can do sticks, wedges or rounds what ever you like.
                                                              1 beet peeled and cut into same shape as turnips
                                                              3 1/2 cups water
                                                              1/2 cup vinegar
                                                              2 Tbs salt
                                                              3/4 tsp sugar

                                                              Put turnips and beets into a jar. Mix brine until salt and sugar dissolve and pour over vegetables. Let stand for a week or so then refridgerate.

                                                              1. AntarcticWidow Mar 17, 2008 02:25 PM

                                                                Turnip gratin.


                                                                1. dani_k Mar 17, 2008 02:01 PM

                                                                  i have a turnip lurking in my fridge drawer. i can't stand them cooked or at least how ive eaten them cooked in the past. so i am going to try and cut them up raw with a hummus or like dip, as that was recommended to me.

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