Tag Archives: turnips

Your My Thrill

You do something to me! It was so unexpected when it happened. Caught totally off guard, I find I just can’t get enough of my new love! There are so many ways to use these little gems, and this recipe is perfect for a breakfast or brunch. Full of cheese, eggs, kale, cream and bread cubes it is a meal by itself, or if you prefer, with something simple from the grill. Turnips have the added benefit of not being a carbohydrate. They have less than half the calories of potatoes or sweet potatoes; and can easily be swapped out in recipes. So you can literally eat them with abandon!

TURNIP AND KALE GRATIN

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (lemon thyme is wonderful)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 bunches kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn (you can use any type of kale, I find Tuscan and Red Russian particularly good)
  • 6-8 medium turnips, trimmed, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I don’t peel mine, however if you do feel free)
  • 3 large farm-raised eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Fontina cheese, grated (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup pecorino cheese, grated (about 1 ounce)
  • 2 cups day-old bread such as ciabatta, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a medium pan, bring garlic, cream and thyme to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-low. Add onions, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally until they turn a nice light amber color, about 20-30 minutes. Add a splash or two of water if they start to stick to the bottom of your pan. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Wipe out skillet.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in same skillet. Working in batches, add your kale, tossing and letting it wilt slightly before adding more; season with salt. Cook until kale is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Add to bowl with onions.
  4. While kale is cooking, cook turnips in a large pot on well-salted water until crisp tender, about 2 minutes; drain. Transfer to a bowl of ice water and let cool. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to the bowl with onions and kale.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk eggs, Fontina cheese, pecorino cheese, and cooled cream mixture in a large bowl to combine. Add onion and kale mixture, along with bread; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 8 x 8 casserole dish and bake uncovered until well browned, 40-50 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Gratin can be assembled 12 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Serves 6

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“The best things happen unexpectedly.”

Not On My Radar

Today I am grateful. Grateful for living in the country on our vegetable farm. It provides a much needed counterbalance to the daily stress and anxiety of watching our world unravel by the seams. So many things are out of our control; so I focus on the things I can do to live a meaningful life. These include keeping in touch with those I love, planning for an uncertain future, reading, playing games with Val, and above all cooking with as much creativity that I can muster.

If I am an obsessive cook, Val is an obsessive farmer. She loves growing vegetables that are unfamiliar to us. These include some vegetables that don’t necessarily excite me, like turnips. Turnips have never been on my radar. When there are so many vegetables that I love, why grow turnips? When I expressed this to Val she simply said, “Then learn to like them.” She was obviously not detoured. So grow them she did, while I did my part and explored recipes for ideas on how to use them.

I found myself gravitating to recipes that featured them roasted. I figured most vegetables that are roasted are usually sweeter. Really, I didn’t know what to expect, so I tried a simple side dish that roasted them, then tossed them with a vinaigrette while warm; I imagined similar to a French potato salad. It was certainly worth a try. I made a vinaigrette using scallions, tarragon vinegar, whole-grain mustard, extra-virgin olive oil and fresh parsley. I reasoned if I liked everything else in the recipe, I would have a good chance of enjoying them. I butterflied a whole chicken for the grill and we were in business.

I roasted and tossed the turnips with the vinaigrette and the sharpness of the mustard with the vinegar and olive oil smelled wonderful. I went out to finish up the chicken, when Val appeared shortly after with a piece of turnip between her fingers. “It’s time.” she said and popped it in my mouth. Frankly, I was stunned! This was a turnip? This was what I had been avoiding? It was absolutely delicious! Wow. Val stood there with a smirk on her face. “I assume we should grow these again?”

It’s safe to say, I am now a convert. I was so impressed with them I decided that I could use a similar strategy to roast them with chicken. This time I pan-seared chicken thighs, then pan-roasted turnips with fresh tarragon, course mustard, garlic, lemon zest, white wine and chicken stock. I then finished the whole thing covered in the oven for 25 minutes. I have found that turnips love roasting, tarragon and mustard for sure.

ROASTED TURNIPS IN MUSTARD-VINAIGRETTE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon tarragon or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 24 small or 10 larger turnips, cut in half or wedges depending on size

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard, scallion, parsley and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut the turnips in half through the stems if small, quarter or cut in sixths if larger. In a large bowl toss the turnips with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the turnips on the baking sheet and roast for about 18 minutes.
  3. After 5 minutes or so, transfer to a decorative bowl and toss with vinaigrette. Serve.

Serves 4-6

ROASTED CHICKEN WITH TURNIPS, TARRAGON AND LEMON

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 medium to large turnips
  • 6-8 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a heavy oven-proof Dutch oven on a stove top over high heat. Pat the chicken thighs with paper towels, then rub with the olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Add to pot and sear 6-8 minutes per side, or until well browned. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Turn heat down to medium. Pan roast the turnips, adding a bit more olive oil if needed, until lightly golden. Add the tarragon, mustard, garlic, vinegar, wine and stock. Bring to a simmer. Return chicken thighs to pot.
  3. Transfer to oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove from oven and take out chicken thighs; cover them with tented foil.
  4. Place pot back on stove over medium-high heat. Reduce liquid by a little less than half. Stir in heavy cream. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken.
  5. With a slotted spoon, remove turnips and place on each plate. Top with a chicken thigh; then spoon sauce over both. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Serves 4

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“This is about trying new things, and getting out of your rut.” — Teri Gault