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Ode to Turnips

  • c

I picked up some turnips at the farmer's market this weekend. These are true gems of vegetables, all creamy white and amethyst, as dense in the hand as one of Paris's golden apples. And the flavor is amazing: sweet, earthy, just the teeniest bit bitter, but juicy and tender through and through. They are so completely perfect in their unadulterated state that I've been slicing them and eating them pounds at a time with just a sprinkling of sea salt.

Fellow turnip lovers: How do you love them? Mashed with butter? Baked in a pie? Let us count the ways....

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    1. re: The Turtle Bay Dove

      mmm indeed! this is one of those foods i have to make in moderation. i really could eat myself sick when it comes to roasted turnips.

    2. Mashed, with roast beef and gravy

      2 Replies
      1. re: mwright

        oh, and they are my secret ingredient in many "brothy" soups -- grate them up very fine and add them to oriental type soup stocks, French onion soup, etc. The vegetable will "disappear' but a nice, rich flavour will remain.

        1. re: mwright

          clever -- i never thought to grate them into soups, before, though i do love when they get all melty in soups and stews.

      2. In a creamy puree with ripe pears, russet potatoes and a touch of heavy cream and butter. It is an unbeatable side dish for prime rib!
        Phoo-D
        http://www.phoo-d.com

        1 Reply
        1. re: Phoo_d

          i love this dish, too -- though i make mine with more than a touch of heavy cream and butter. it also makes a lovely, lovely 'bed' for apple cider-glazed pork chop.

        2. Boiled then mashed with butter, bacon fat and plenty of pepper
          Stewed with chicken in curried peanut butter sauce
          Curried with lamb in Shabdeg

          5 Replies
          1. re: JungMann

            I also like to peel and eat them raw. I throw cubes in soups and stews in place of the starchier and less nutritious potato. I also have a guilty passion for those fluorescent pink Lebanese pickled turnips.

            1. re: 1sweetpea

              Do you have a recipe for the pickled turnips? I am on a pickling tear lately.

            2. re: JungMann

              shabdeg sounds sooooo good. i've never had any desi dishes that included turnips. do you have a recipe to share (or a restaurant in nyc to recommend)?

              1. re: cimui

                Dawat used to have it on their menu, which is appropriate since I found the recipe in a Madhur Jaffrey book (father was not really one for turnips... or plant life in general). I'll have to see if I can dig up the recipe. It's somewhat akin to Kashmiri rogan josh with turnips if I recall correctly.

                1. re: JungMann

                  i have a bunch of jaffrey's really old cookbooks kickin' around on my bookshelf. i'll take a look, too. don't go to the trouble if it's not in easy access! thanks, jungmann!

            3. mashed with rutabegas and mashed potatoes then fried in butter the next day.
              Or.....roasted with Parsnips. Parsnips are another gem!

              1 Reply
              1. re: jarona

                parsnips!! i do also love those. have you seen the gourmet magazine recipe for carmelized parsnips with muscadet vinegar? i made it for thanksgiving this year. amazing.

              2. I prefer rutabagas/swedes to white turnips. Peeled, cubed, steamed/boiled, put through a ricer - with potatoes and apples added, this becomes a version of Himmel und Erde (Heaven and Earth - apples for paradise, the root vegetables for earth).

                1 Reply
                1. re: Karl S

                  a beautiful, romantic name, himmel und erde.

                2. roasted with carrots and parsnips or panfried

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    strangely, i have never once tried them pan fried. i bet that is amazing, esp. with some carmelized onions.

                    1. re: cimui

                      It's delicious. Slice them into thin rounds and panfry in a little bit of oil. Sprinkle with salt when they're done. I used to eat them all the time like this as a kid.

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        cheesecake, not so healthy, but i'm making them in a pan with butter as we speak. they're browning up nicely. thank you!

                        1. re: cimui

                          how did you like it? i spoke to my mother last night, and she mentioned that she slices the turnips really thin and panfries them in cooking spray. I havent tried it.. but it sounded yummy

                          1. re: cheesecake17

                            the flavor? delectable! (how can you go wrong with turnips and butter?) next time, i will slice them more thinly, though -- these took forever to cook through!

                            1. re: cimui

                              the thinner you slice them the better. have you ever made turnip pickles?

                  2. My sister serves this turnip salad:
                    A few (maybe 3) peeled and very thinly sliced raw turnips
                    Add to turnips, 1/4 cup (or less) minced shallot, 3 T. white wine vinegar, salt and pepper
                    Mix well

                    Add 3, or whatever looks right, tablespoons of sour cream. Mix that well. Chill

                    Her boyfrend was heard to say: "What the hell is this? It's good!"

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Pat Hammond

                      I like them in a veggie shepherd's pie. Roast turnips, crimini and brussels and cover w/mashed potatoes. The mushrooms and turnips play great together...

                      1. re: Pat Hammond

                        polish preparation? sounds very similar to what a polish friend does with cucumber.

                      2. I love turnips all ways but my go to way to turn someone on to turnips who claims they hate them ( and I seem to encounter a lot of thse people) is Jacques et Julia cooking at Home glazed carrots and turnips. I have all my non turnip eaters over with this then can try other things.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cassoulady

                          another fellow pro-turnip social activist! =) i'm quite proud of myself for converting my SO's mom (very picky eater) just recently. i made a gratin with potatoes and didn't tell her what she was eating until after.

                        2. Finnish pear and turnip pie. Wow!

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            wowie... that does sound good. is it sweet or savory?

                            1. re: cimui

                              Dessert. A single crust pie w/ alternate pear & turnip slices in concentric circles. There is also a pear and turnip sauce.

                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                ok, my friend, you're going to HAVE to post a recipe. i googled for one and couldn't find anything at all. and definitely this sounds too interesting not to try. rough guidelines would work as well. i'm willing to experiment!

                                1. re: cimui

                                  I went to look for my Finnish cookbook salt night, but we are remodeling and they are in boxes. I'll give another lok tonight.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Passadumkeg, would you be able to post the Finnish pear and turnip pie recipe, if you can find it? I tried googling pear and turnip pie, and I couldn't find any online versions of the recipe.

                                    1. re: phoenikia

                                      I'll try to find it. It's in an old Finnish cookbook.

                          2. I love those teeny tiny purple and white beauties. Usually I add them to a braise, roast them with other root veggies, or just peel, slice thinly and add to a salad.

                            Sorry - I have just been reminded of the Black Adder for just a mo. Gotta go snicker.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Gio

                              Black Adder! Blaaack Adder, Black AAAdeeer!

                              I you grow turnips, cover with netting when young to prevent turnip maggots.

                              Black Adder would love turnip maggots.

                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                I knew you would relate.....
                                By the by, Remay is the netting I use. Gardner's Supply in Burlington VT sells it. Works a treat.

                              2. re: Gio

                                alright, spill it. what's the story with black adder and turnips?

                                1. re: cimui

                                  If you have never seen the Black Adder series from BBC on PBS you can't visualize the characters.... but this tells the story:
                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_(Bl...

                                  Rowan Atkinson starred as the BA...Hugh Lawrie and Stephen Fry were regulars too. Absolutely hilarious series.
                                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/blackadder/

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    i have seen the show, just not this evidently famous episode. i probably won't be looking in my dinner in quite the same way. ;)

                              3. Raw, roasted, braised. Most recently, I included them in a dish of braised short ribs. (Beef and turnips is a surprisingly good combination.) My husband had carelessly discarded the greens, or I would have used those in the braise, too. Turnips stew nicely and meld well with other flavors.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: jlafler

                                  bad husband! i, too, love the greens. it's surprisingly hard to find around here. even the farmer's markets sell the turnips decapitated.

                                  1. re: cimui

                                    He's usually a pretty good husband, so I will try to educate him about turnip greens. He knows about beet greens, but these were rather wilted and raggedy, so I can see why he thought they were compost.

                                    1. re: jlafler

                                      love the man, hate the beet greens thrower outer. ;)

                                2. wow, so many great preps, here. i don't know if this batch will be as good as the one from the farmer's market, but i was so inspired by the suggestions in this thread that i picked up another five pounds from the grocery store. thanks for the wonderful suggestions!

                                  1. roasted is definitely my favorite preparation. turnips AND parsnips place high on the list of the most underrated foods.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      and turnips and parsnips, together? *heaven* =)

                                      1. re: cimui

                                        Add a rutabaga and now we're talking.

                                        Rutabagas are the turnip's aristocratic aunt.

                                        1. re: dmd_kc

                                          yes please - i'll take all three :)

                                          if i didn't have several other veggies that i need to use up for dinner tonight, i'd be on my way to the market to buy them right now!

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            oh, and add celery root to the mix while we're at it.

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              Swede (yelloe turnip) and potatoes too. We grow them all. They do well in Maine's northern climate. We still have some kale in the garden and harvested the Brussel sprouts just a couple of weeks ago.

                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                Hmm, I always thought "swede" was a rutabaga.

                                                In junior high our choir sang a very silly song about rutabagas, which I remember mainly because I got teased mercilessly for using the word "hybrid" when someone asked me what a rutabaga was.

                                                1. re: jlafler

                                                  Rutabaga, swede and yellow turnip are all names for the same thing.

                                                  Better than white turnip, if you ask me.

                                    2. Oh, the little baby Japanese turnips that occasionally turn up at my farmer's market are just amazingly good! Either raw or lightly steamed, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, maybe a bit of butter melted onto them - sweet and delicious; and don't forget the greens!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Bat Guano

                                        oh, right! i always think of these as radishes, since they're so teeny and cute, but i think you're right that they are turnips. they're also great after a few hours of bathing with rice wine vinegar, salt and sugar.

                                      2. Turnips, like beets an brussel sprouts are something i think a lot people remember hating as a child but when they they have them well prepared they love them. I so look forward to fall to eating turnips.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: cassoulady

                                          the funny thing is that i remember my mom hating turnips when i was a kid, but my friend and i would pull them out of the ground on his farm and eat them just like that (after a cursory rub on our t-shirts). i can't tell you how much that grossed out my mom.

                                          1. re: cimui

                                            When I lived in Norway, my landlord would pull up 2 turnips from the ground cut off the tops and give them a quick clean in the sea and we'd chomp on them like a couple of apples while rowing out to check our gill nets. This is how i learned to love turnips!

                                        2. Just had fantastic turnips stewed in chicken stock with carmelized onions and bacon bits. Fantastic. Oh, I said that already.....

                                          1. We grew our own this year and they're fabulous raw. They got a bit large, so I used thin slices like crackers (low carb diet) with Hungarian salami. Also makes a great salad with grated apple and lots of fresh mint, a bit of french tarragon and lemon juice and sugar for dressing.

                                             
                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Erdorou

                                              How funny. I was just chopping some turnips for stew and kimchi, eating almost as much raw turnip by the thin, salted slice as I put into the stuff I'm purportedly making. Stopped in to Chowhound to find this thread. Nice to see this old geezer revived. :)

                                              Never thought of turnip slices as potential stand-ins for crackers, but now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense. Maybe I can turn my diabetic FIL on to 'em... And maybe I could dehydrate slices in the oven for "chips"!

                                            2. We're torn -- sometimes we boil 'em and mash 'em (with carrots and a bit of onion added to the mash) -- but more often I dice into 1/4" cubes and saute in butter (this after soaking the cubes in cold water for 20 mins.).

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: shaogo

                                                Mmm mmm mmm. Sounds good to me. Do you soak beforehand to keep the turnip crisp after sauteeing?

                                              2. Though I love plain roasted turnips, I sometimes like to make them with a more asian flair -- peel and cut turnips into bit size pieces, then either roast or steam (add a little mirin to the water if you want), and toss with a mixture of half butter / half red miso and sprinkle with a little furikake or gomasio.