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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If you like turnips…

Photos and text by KARA DiCAMILLO/ News contributor

I recently had a conversation with a friend about turnips. She was telling me how much she loved them and I told her it brought back a memory from when I was a teenager. There was one Thanksgiving that there were turnips added to our mashed potatoes — one of my favorite parts of the dinner — and I just couldn’t bring myself eat them.

Because of that memory I haven’t gone out of my way to eat them until this past week when they were a part of my CSA.

So what was I going to do with turnips that would have otherwise rotted in the refrigerator? Make mashed potatoes, of course. I use a ricer for my mashed potatoes because it gives them an ultra-creamy texture, but you can also use a food processor or a good old-fashioned masher. 

I have to say, they were absolutely delightful. I licked the mixing bowl. Maybe it’s just because those turnips were so fresh and delicious.

I would normally throw away the top part of the turnip, the greens, but I decided to sauté them in a pan, along with some beef stock to make an au jus. They were the perfect complement. I would highly recommend both recipes for anything from a beef to a chicken to a portobello mushroom dish.

Mashed Turnips and Potatoes
Serves 4

4 white turnips, halved
4 medium-sized red potatoes, halved
Three-quarters of a cup of half & half
1 tablespoon of butter
Freshly cracked pepper

Place the turnips and potatoes in a pot and add water until it’s just above the vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook them for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender. Remove from the heat and drain in a colander.

Using a ricer, food processor or masher, combine the potatoes and turnips until smooth.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the half & half over low heat and add then add the butter. Simmer until the butter has melted and remove from heat. Slowly stir in to the potatoes and turnip mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Sautéed Turnip Greens
Serves 4

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Greens from 4 turnips
4 tablespoons of beef broth (or chicken or vegetable, depending on your dish)
Freshly cracked pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium to high heat and add the garlic. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and then add the turnip greens. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Sauté until tender, about a minute or so, and then add the broth. Cook for an additional 30 seconds to blend the flavors and remove from heat. Serve immediately.