Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Week 3- Don't Turnip Your Nose At This!

Each week when I pick up my veggies the first thing that we all dive for are the white turnips.  The kids and I usually devour them like apples before we even get home, but today I hoarded them in the bottom of the bag and we all munched on the broccoli instead (which was just as big a hit with everyone).  I had big plans for my turnips tonight.  I had saved last week's pretty pink turnips so that I could make a bigger batch of this recipe and it turned out to be just enough for the 5 of us (little Sol is a ways from munching on turnips just yet) with the pink turnips from this week and last and the white turnips (minus one for the chef to munch on) from this week.
I had the privilege last fall, in one amazing week, to eat at a number of nice restaurants in Charlottetown that had sourced Jen's sweet and crunchy summer turnips (it was coincidence, I wasn't on a Jen's-turnip-hunt, although that's a great idea!).  The chefs had prepared them different ways but perhaps my favorite was a sidedish at Sim's, which I remember as being aMAZEing, but the details are fuzzy.  In an attempt to recreate my fuzzy delicious memory, I threw some of my favorite things in a pot and it came out pretty darn good!

 So, I cut up the bigger turnips into quarters or halves and left the babies whole (even with a little top on- in a futile effort to feel more like a foodie- a fail according to the kids).  Tossed them in a thick bottomed pot (a dutch oven would be great) along with butter, salt and a splash of maple syrup (yep, that pretty much sums up my favorite things). 
 I let it all simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the syrup from burning.  Surprisingly there was a fair bit of liquid, so I took the cover off for the last bit to let it steam off and really carmelize.
An important factor in recipes for me is that I can do it while getting everything else ready and deal with four needy small humans at the same time.  I could easily read a book, kiss a boo-boo, jiggle a carseat, get multiple glasses of water and answer a terrible, home made knock-knock joke while letting this do its thing. 
 My only tips are to resist the urge to leave that pretty pink peel on the turnips- they seemed to get even more bitter with cooking. And the white turnips cook faster, so maybe leave them in bigger pieces.  Leaving the tops on made for pretty presentation, but they were hard to cut off for those who insisted they not be eaten (I ate my tops and they were fine, but apparently the under 5 set are not into that).

For a summer meal on a hot night, after a busy day, this was quick, easy and really tasty.  The variations with this could go far and wide too.  I'm sure braising carrots and onions with the turnip would be awesome too- and that's just the beginning.  Maybe some Bragg's soy sauce instead of the syrup for a more savoury dish?  So many possibilities! 


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