November 19, 2008

Creamed Turnips

A recent conversation I had:

Them: "Foodies are just thirty- and forty-somethings who used to shop at The Gap."

Me: "How do you mean?"

"I mean, they cook and eat the things that are fashionable at the time to be considered trend-setting and people who shopped at The Gap in the 80's & 90's."

"So, what foods do you consider trend-setting?"

"Right now, it's old-fashioned--I mean, retro--foods that foodies are bringing back and macaroni & cheese made with goat cheese or curried egg salad or creamed turnips."

"Hey, now! I'm not making turnips because they trendy-retro. I'm making them because someone just gave me an entire bag of fresh turnips!"

" foodie! Go buy another pair of khakis!"

I wouldn't consider turnips to be a trendy food, but I am noticing that turnip recipes are appeared on several blogs lately. My guess is that's because turnips are currently in season, not necessarily in fashion, at the moment.

Turnips were another food I'd never cooked or eaten. So, I chose to make Alanna's creamed turnips to go with roasted chicken earlier this week.

I think turnips have gotten a bad rap in past. Uncooked, they have a strong, peppery aroma. Cooked, they taste slightly sweet...though, I can see how they could be bitter if prepared incorrectly.

I thought this was a good alternative to mashed potatoes, and now I'd definitely try other turnip recipes.

Creamed Turnips

1 pound turnips, peeled and quartered
Water to cover, salted
1 cup whole milk
2 bay leaves
2 whole cloves
2 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
freshly ground nutmeg
  • Bring water to boil in a small pot (if possible, use something other than non-stick so you can mash the turnips in the same pan later) on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the turnips and return to a boil, then reduce heat to MEDIUM to maintain a simmer. Cook until cooked through, about 15 minutes.Drain and return to pot.
  • While the turnips cook, combine the milk, bay leaves, cloves and peppercorns in asmall saucpan. Bring it just to a boil over MEDIUM heat, then let rest until ready to use. Remove the bay leaves, cloves and peppercorns.
  • While the milk is warming, melt the butter in a small saucepan on MEDIUM. Stir in the flour until the mixture is thick and silky and without lumps. Slowly & gradually add the hot milk, stirring all the time, incorporating the milk completely before adding more. Once all the milk is incorporated, continue to stir for a couple of minutes, finishing the cooking process. It's okay if small bubbles form but don't let the mixture boil. Once the white sauce is cooked, reduce the heat to LOW to hold. Season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg.
  • Add the sauce to the pan with the drained turnips and mash with a hand masher or hand mixer until somewhat smooth -- though they won't be as smooth as mashed potatoes. Spoon into a serving bowl, then top with another sprinkle of nutmeg.


Wendy said...

My husband does the low-carb thing, and this sounds like a wonderful alternative to potatoes. We already use turnips in place of potatoes in soups and stews - delish!

Made a Shepherd's Pie the other night, substituting the potatoes on top with cauliflower puree - it was AWESOME. SO much lighter than a "normal" Shepherd's Pie. And, an extra serving of veggies devoured by my toddler...

breadchick said...

I'm not sure how trendy turnips are but I've been a big fan of them for many years and I've never bought anything at the Gap.

I'm looking forward to trying this recipe.

MacDuff said...

Well, ok. First of all, there are foodies and then there are food snobs. Just like you can LOVE red wine, and then you can start calling yourself a vin conossieur. There's a big diff, and it doesn't involve anything khaki.

Second, how WAS this recipe? I keep wanting to try cooking with turnips, but I chicken out.

KELLY said...


I really like the turnips. They weren't what I expected at all!

I think they would be good diced and roasted as well!