Freezable recipes featuring fennel bulb, brussels sprouts, or turnips
January 1, 2018 1:21 PM   Subscribe

I love the taste of fennel bulb, brussels sprouts, and turnips (separately, of course, I'm not a monster). Mostly I roast them or have them raw in salads/slaws, but I'd like to be able to cook up a big batch of something and freeze it for later. I assume there must be some amazing soups/stews/mashes out there? Vegetarian or meaty are both fine, as is any level of skill/effort, as long as any of these three ingredients are integral to the dish (i.e., you can still taste them strongly). Thanks in advance!
posted by unknowncommand to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
This is my basic "leftover casserole" recipe. It's always good. Can be vegetarian or not.

Cube all the vegetables and make sure you have at least something sharp tasting in there (the turnip will work or an apple) and something hearty and savory (brussel sprouts are good, so is butternut squash). Stuff like zucchini or potato is fine too but will abosrb the tastes of the other stuff.

Cube the meat if using. Brown the meat if it's un-cooked or use pre-cooked meat (I use sausage a lot for this as it's tasty or ground turkey as it's cheap at the farmers market and I always have it). Deglaze the meat pan and add meat and drippings to a casserole or bread pan (you need higher sides). Add mixed cubed veggies on top. Add 1/4-1/2 cup each of stock and red wine, depending on the size of the pan. Toss in oven at 350-400 for 40 minutes loosely covered then take the cover off and cook until the veggies are browned and carmelized and the sauce has thickened a touch, about 10 more minutes Stir once or twice towards the end so as not to dry out the top layer. Take out and eat, you are done. Freezes great.

This is basically idiot proof and a great way to use up left over veggies/ meat/ aromatics. I make it most every week the night before grocery day. I wouldn't add too much fennel, especially up front, you can add more at the end of the recipe.
posted by fshgrl at 1:44 PM on January 1, 2018 [4 favorites]

My family often did mashed swede/rutabaga, I haven't tried it with turnips but in Scotland "mashed neeps" [pause to confirm that "neeps" are indeed turnips and it turns out to be a much more vexed issue than I had ever imagined] but I should think the same principle would work well with turnips. Or swedes. Or rutabaga. Or whatever you mean when you say "turnip".

Which basically means, cut your turnips (I'll call them turnips) into fattish dice, boil in salted water for 20 or so minutes until they are tender when you poke them with a fork. Drain, add butter, a bit of milk, salt and pepper, mash. I have also never tried freezing mashed swede as it never lasts that long, but as a general rule mashed root veg do just fine in the freezer.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:18 PM on January 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is an interesting question. Obviously, you like a bit of bitterness, but stewing and freezing will sweeten the vegetables a lot. Moroccan stews for couscous often include turnips, but you could make them with all three of your favorites combined with other stuff you have in the fridge; the principle is to combine big chunks of vegetables and meat in a pot, no browning needed, flavor with herbs, salt and pepper and maybe some ras al hanout and add water, or a combination of water and crushed tomato, then stew till the meat is done, add chickpeas from a can for the last ten minutes of cooking. Meat can be anything too, a combination of chicken and lamb works well. This seems too simple but it really isn't. Serve with harissa mixed with a bit of the juice in a separate bowl for some punch, and of course plenty of buttered couscous.

I like fennel a lot and use it often, but I realized I couldn't come up with a specific recipe. However, since fennel is particularly good with pork, I googled fennel pork stew - maybe some of those recipes would fit your taste?
posted by mumimor at 2:26 PM on January 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Slight detour, but in the category of "not frozen, but made in advance to have on hand": did you know you can pickle all of those? Plenty of recepies abound, but here are three: fennel, brussel sprouts, turnips.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:31 PM on January 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Whenever I have a cauliflower or a fennel bulb, I go and buy the other one so I can make this fantastic cauliflower fennel gratin. I've never tried freezing it but I don't see why not.
posted by centrifugal at 3:44 PM on January 1, 2018 [4 favorites]

Cut the fennel bulb into big slabs with the core still attached, about half an inch thick. Mince the fronds and set aside. In a big skillet heat some good olive oil and add a couple pinches of saffron (that's optional but is so yummy) and let it steep in the hot oil for a minute. Mix it around with a pinch of salt and then add the fennel slices flat into the pan. Sprinkle the tops with a bit more salt. When the fennel begins to get a bit of color on the bottom, flip them and repeat on the other side. Pour a small tin of tomato sauce or puree over the top, sprinkle the fennel fronds on and set to simmer. Cover and let it simmer for about half an hour or until the fennel cores are tender.

This is excellent on its own as a topping for good bread with a nice cheese on the side but it is also an ideal accompaniment to sardines. Drain the sardines (the good kind packed in oil) and place in a hot skillet so they get a bit crispy on the outside. Add some of your fennel and tomato mixture and let everything comingle. Or if you want to do the sardines in the first place add them while the second side of the fennel cooks before you add the tomato.
posted by Mizu at 6:25 PM on January 1, 2018 [6 favorites]

It might help to explain the confusion about which veggie is the neep if you understand that neeps means anything in the turnip family. The nip part of the word tur-nip and the word pars-nip clue you in that they are in the neep family. Swedes are also in the neep family.

Back in the day - prior to 1600 or so - there were two very common vegetable families, with a gazillion different local variations. One was neeps and the other was cole. Everything in the cabbage family came from variations of the cole - Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccolli, etc. Your village would likely have grown a different cole than the village thirty miles over.

You could always simply blanch your veggies and then serve them with butter and salt and pepper after you defrost them, possibly in a vegetable steamer.

Brussels sprouts work very nicely in a pork stew - but don't cut them up before you cook them.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:25 AM on January 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I really enjoy this roast carrot and fennel soup. I would just freeze before adding cream and then you could add if desired when thawing and reheating.
posted by LKWorking at 8:30 AM on January 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

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