Tasty turnips?
January 10, 2008 7:17 PM   Subscribe

A crate of homegrown turnips showed up in my life yesterday. I've never cooked with turnips before (hell, I don't recall ever eating them before). Do you have any particularly delicious ways of using turnips? I know I can treat them like mashed potatoes, which sounds good.

I checked the small section on turnips (two recipes) in Bittman's How To Cook Everything; it made me hesitate, since he says to only use the ones smaller than two inches in diameter so they aren't "woody." These turnips are all sorts of sizes. Is it really that bad to use the bigger ones? Thanks in advance for helping me not waste this bounty.
posted by mediareport to Food & Drink (25 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I roasted shallots, brussel sprouts, garlic cloves and chunks of turnip and parsnip in a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil last night and it turned out lovely. You could add beet or carrot for a sweeter blend of veg.
I think it depends on what kind of turnip youre talking about. My grandma calls the large white and purple variety "swedes" (swedish turnips). I think Americans call them rutabaga. But I suppose thats not what you mean. I used the little spring turnips, and didnt use the top bits that my knife was struggling to cut through. Good luck!
posted by quelindo at 7:25 PM on January 10, 2008

Any meal that might have olives as a side dish is great with two side dishes -- olives and pickled turnips. Sometimes larger turnips are indeed old, woody, and nasty, but not always.
posted by Killick at 7:28 PM on January 10, 2008

Response by poster: They look exactly like this. You roasted in a skillet, right? Not an oven?
posted by mediareport at 7:28 PM on January 10, 2008

No, I did it in an oven. They took about 35 minutes at 400 degrees.
posted by quelindo at 7:35 PM on January 10, 2008

For starters, you don't have to cook them.
posted by dobbs at 7:38 PM on January 10, 2008

Best answer: They make pretty tasty french fries.
posted by beccaj at 7:43 PM on January 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

You know those squarish colored glazed fruity chunky thingys in most fruit bread? Not fruit. Turnips. And they don't "show up" in your life; they "turn up".
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:57 PM on January 10, 2008 [3 favorites]

cut em up along with beets, fingerling potatoes and maybe some carrots or parsnips. toss w/olive oil + salt + pepper. roast in oven at 375-400 uncovered for a good hour, pulling out to stir up every now and again.

almost any vegetable + olive oil + salt + heat = good. even lettuce i wager!
posted by apostrophe at 7:58 PM on January 10, 2008

Last night as our veggie for dinner, my husband sautéed turnips and carrots in Dijon mustard and honey, and then sprinkled them with parsley. Turned out well.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:00 PM on January 10, 2008

What a coincidence -- I picked out a bunch of small white turnips at the farmer's market yesterday, despite the fact that I have enjoyed turnips on only a handful of occasions. (Once was roasted in the pan along with a chicken, where they became golden and crunch, with a faint and delightful bitterness.) They are now cut into chunks and spattering happily in the cast-iron skillet, along with potato, apple, red onion, and a smoked pork chop. And the house smells AMAZING.
posted by ottereroticist at 8:03 PM on January 10, 2008

Since you're dealing with volume, I'd suggest making a big pot of delicious stew. That is the primary way that I've had them, as that's pretty much the only way my family would eat turnips/parsnips. They are also good in a cheese/potato casserole.
posted by SassHat at 8:05 PM on January 10, 2008

If I get turnips from my CSA I always like to make a stamppot, a kind of Dutch peasant fare consisting of mashed vegetables (sort of like amped-up mashed potatoes). I'm not sure if this is a legitimate style of stamppot, but it always turns out great, especially in winter.
posted by tractorfeed at 8:47 PM on January 10, 2008

My grandmother always just mashed them (a lot like your first recipe, but no potatoes). Lots of butter, a little onion, a little milk. She died 20 years ago, and to this day, I haven't found any that taste quite as good.
posted by pupdog at 8:48 PM on January 10, 2008

This won't take care of a whole crate, but they are delicious raw, whether in salads or just by themselves.
posted by qvtqht at 9:17 PM on January 10, 2008

You can make a bed of cut up turnips and lay a chicken on them for roasting, it pulls the fat away from the chicken and makes for especially delicious gravy.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 10:22 PM on January 10, 2008

I like them roasted plain - maybe a touch of salt - or stewed, as in a beef stew. They are not unforgiving, they will take a variety of temperatures and durations without falling apart. They are one of my favorite things to eat.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:08 PM on January 10, 2008

i always cut up a turnip for my borshch, same with lamb stew.
posted by bruce at 11:11 PM on January 10, 2008

I like them braised. Cut them into chunks, put in a covered casserole dish with a little butter and a bit of chicken stock, enough that the liquid comes maybe halfway up the turnip pieces. About 45 minutes in a medium oven and they'll absorb all the flavour of the stock and soften up.

They're also good in a Japanese curry.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 5:00 AM on January 11, 2008

Always good to add a couple to roasted veggie stock, or chicken stock.
posted by JABof72 at 6:27 AM on January 11, 2008

I usually roast them with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar and love them. But then, night before last, I decided to make this vegetable tagine only to discover that I had no lentils! Quel horreur! I used turnips instead. It was awesome and I highly recommend it.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:28 AM on January 11, 2008

I seem to remember turnips having a strong affinity for apples. I think I made a soup once with those two main ingredients that was surprisingly good.
posted by rjacobs at 8:51 AM on January 11, 2008

How about turnip pie?
posted by deCadmus at 9:14 AM on January 11, 2008

I like to eat them in raw, bite-sized chunks with some charcuterie.
posted by rocketman at 2:45 PM on January 11, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the suggestions, y'all; I'd . I made turnip french fries in the toaster oven at work today - cut them, tossed them with olive oil, added salt and rosemary from a bush next door and cooked at 375 for a half hour or so. They were *delicious*! My boss and coworkers were as surprised as I was at how darn sweet they became. And we used one of the big ones, too; it softened up just fine.

I can't wait to try them in other ways, especially seeing what they do to soups. I'm beginning to understand why they're one of ikkyu2's favorite foods - the range of taste from raw to french fry was pretty astonishing. I'd mark you all best answer, but, damn, that french fry thing. I hope you understand. :)
posted by mediareport at 4:22 PM on January 11, 2008

Response by poster: and cooked at 375 for a half hour or so

We have a pretty weak toaster oven at work, I should mention. Normal ovens would do the job faster, I'm sure...

posted by mediareport at 4:27 PM on January 11, 2008

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