“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Turnip For The Books

The turnip or white turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapa) is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock.

OK, that's all very well, but what can I make with it that's delicious and interesting, Jeff? I hear you collectively wail. Well, I am delighted you asked.

Chard and Veggie Bake with a Mushroom, Quinoa and Goats Cheese Crumble Topping


Serves 6

For the bake:

Olive oil
Six shallots, roughly diced
One bag of chard, chopped
500ml stock
Three carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Two turnips, chopped into bite-sized pieces
One can of mixed beans
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping:

Four cloves of garlic, minced
One punnet of mushrooms, crumbled by hand into large breadcrumb-sized pieces
One cup of quinoa
100g goats cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat the oven to 200C.
Rinse the quinoa well, simmer it in two cups of boiling water until the germ starts to separate, and then drain and set to one side to cool.
Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick stockpot or casserole pan then turn down the heat and add the shallots.
After two or three minutes, add the chard. Cover and wilt down for three or four minutes.
Now tip in the stock, and throw in the carrots, turnips, beans and seasoning.
Give it all a good stir, replace the lid and continue to simmer for around ten minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together the minced garlic, cooked and cooled quinoa, crumbled mushrooms and goats cheese in a large glass bowl that you can get your hands into. This is sticky but fun.
Check the veggie mix for flavour, adjust as necessary and then spoon it into a large, lightly oiled baking dish.
Cover with the quinoa mix and bake in the oven for 20 minutes before switching the oven to grill and browning off the top for around five minutes.

Turnip Slivers


a brushing of olive oil
salt or other seasoning


Peel the turnip as normal and then cut it into quarters. With a potato peeler, make lots of slivers of turnip, like you would make carrot curls.

Heat up a deep fat fryer as you would for chips and then fry.

They are ready in seconds - just drain them in kitchen paper and sprinkle lightly with salt or other seasoning. Try a sprinkle of chili powder or grated Parmesan.

Alternatively, heat the oven to around 275C and bake the slivers (after brushing them with olive oil) in a layer on a baking tray for about an hour.

Chili Non Carne

A nice meatless chili.


Serves 4

100g Puy lentils or green lentils
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 parsnip / turnip peeled & grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tin tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
200g kidney beans
1 fresh or dried chili, deseeded and finely chopped
adjust to suit your taste
teaspoon ground cumin
teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon yeast extract or 1 stock cube
Handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped


Put the lentils in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, not allowing them to boil dry. They should be almost cooked after this time.

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and saute the onion, garlic, carrot and parsnip / turnip for 10 minutes.

Add the chili, ground coriander seeds and cumin. Cook for 2 minutes.

Roughly chop the tinned tomatoes and add to the frying pan with the tomato puree, balsamic vinegar and yeast extract / stock cube. Mix well.

Add the lentils and stir well. Cover and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.

Add the kidney beans and heat through. Finally add the chopped coriander leaves.

 Alright, now we have some delicious ideas including turnip. But what about recipes where the turnip is the star?

Turnip Casserole 

yield: 8
Preparation Time: 30 mins  
Cooking Time: 45 mins

Light and smooth turnip side-dish made with eggs and topped with bread-crumbs


2 medium turnips
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup bread-crumbs
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Recipe Instructions

Preheat oven to 350oF. Butter an ovenproof baking dish. Peel and chop into chunks the turnips and boil until tender, around 30 minutes. Once tender, mash the turnip well and put into the baking dish. Separate the eggs. In a bowl mix the sugar, nutmeg, egg yolks and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold carefully into the sugar and egg yolk mixture. Fold the turnip into the egg mixture.

Put into the casserole dish and smooth with the back of a spoon. Melt the butter and add the bread-crumbs. Spread over the top of the turnip mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

How about a soup?

Turnip Soup with Ham and Croutons

Smooth, creamy turnip soup served with crispy ham and cornbread croutons. A comforting winter soup.


2 lb turnip, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery
1 1/4 lb onions
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp chopped garlic
10 cups chicken stock
2 oz unsalted butter
1/4 cup double cream
4 oz country ham, julienned
freshly milled black pepper
olive oil
2 cups medium diced cornbread

Recipe Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400oF. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the celery and onions and sauté

Remove the pan from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Using a hand-held blender, puree the soup until very smooth.

Put the ham in a small saucepan and cook until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen roll. Mix the cornbread cubes in olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Put on a baking tray and bake for around 6-8 minutes. Bread should be golden brown.

Add the cream to the soup and reheat until hot. Put into bowls and garnish with the cornbread croutons and crispy ham.

And one more just for the sheer hell of it...

Turnip Masala 

Authentic Punjabi recipe

Spicy turnip curry made with traditional Indian spices. Serve as a main-course with rice and naan bread.


500 g turnips
2 large onion
2 tomatoes
2 green chillies
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 cup water
bunch coriander leaves


Chop the onions and the green chillies. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the chopped chillies, garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add the chopped onions and fry for around 5 minutes until lightly browned. Peel and chop into small chunks the turnip. Chop the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, coriander, cumin and salt and fry for around 2 minutes. Add the turnips and mix well.

Add the water to cover the vegetables, bring to the boil and reduce the heat. Cover with a lid and simmer for around 30 minutes. Add the sugar, mix well and mash the turnip. Mixture should be relatively dry. If still quite wet, continue to cook over a low heat for 1-2 minutes while still stirring.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with rice and naan.

Okey dokes then, I think we are dun turnipped out.

What's this week's food? And how can I make it tie in with all the jolly ho-ho-ho festivities that seem to be occurring?

Name This Food! (Not tricky, I know - but I love the pic.)

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