During the Christmas holidays, I had a two week internship at delicious. magazine. Whilst there, I managed to get hold of a Dutch copy, which I duly sent to my Dutch (cooking-enthusiast) uncle, as the only person I know who would appreciate such a publication; language being the main barrier to all other known cooking fanatics! Although my (food-fussy) aunt was slightly dubious about his choice of Dutch fare, even she was convinced by the end product…
comments from a fussy eater:
Tip number 1.
It helps if you check you have all the ingredients at the outset.
Tip number 2.
Don’t judge a book (or indeed a root vegetable) by it’s cover. Consider that my life experience of turnips was the popular children’s book, The Giant Turnip and a sliced and diced tasteless root vegetable in winter soup. In reality, the turnip pre-prep is aesthetically pleasing with its barely blushing base and creamy skin.
Tip number 3.
You don’t have to eat the skin. I didn’t, in spite of the constant encouragement of my husband to do so. I figure, it’s got a thick outer skin for a reason and that reason is to keep the insides in, which is why stuffing this amazing little vegetable works so well. I never eat the skin of a jacket spud either and don’t intend to start changing my rules for root vegetables.
Tip number 4.
Portion control. Jan cooks for an army anyway, but did we really need 4 turnips – 2 each? At one point Jan was concerned that all the turnip he had patiently scooped out, wasn’t going to fit back in. If I was inclined to eat the skin, then perhaps not 2 turnips, but as I delicately manoeuvred around the skin to access the filling, I decided that the filling of 2 turnips was sufficient. Especially, when combined with the beautiful, albeit it brightly coloured paprika & pepper sauce.
Tip number 5
You have got to try this recipe. The turnip had an exquisite aftertaste and the chestnut, herb mix was divine and provided texture. I liked the little lids, even though I didn’t eat them, they looked cute and appetising. When you begin to describe turnips as cute and appetising, you either need to seek professional help or you’ve hit on a recipe thatmakes this dish sublime. I think the Dutch know when they’re onto a good thing. No-one likes a smug chef, but the mighty turnip and Jan need to be on a pedestal for this fabulous dish.
Ingredients (enough for 4 people)
- 1 kg or 8 Turnips
- 25 g Butter
- 100 g Onion
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 80 g Cooked Chestnuts
- 30 g Parmesan Cheese grated
- 20 g Parsley
- Olive Oil to coat prepared Turnips
Red Pepper Sauce
- 200 g Red Peppers
- 200 ml Vegetable Stock
- 3 Sprigs Dill
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 60 Butter, cut into small blocks and kept cold
- Turn on oven and heat to 200 C
- Firstly take some turnips wash and then steam them for around 30 mins, depending on their size.
- Whilst the turnips are cooking take the chestnuts and place on a baking tray and put in heated oven to cook for about 15 mins when they have cooled sufficiently peel them and coarsely chop. If you want you could use already prepared chestnuts, I used fresh as I had some leftover from Christmas.
- Once the turnips have been cooked and have cooled down sufficiently cut the bottom of the turnip off, just enough for them to stand upright when they are later put in the oven to finish cooking. Cut the tops off to make suitable lids and then scoop out the contents of the turnips and put to one side, to be mashed up.
- Wash and chop the parsley.
- Finely chop onion, and garlic and cook in a pan with the butter. Once they have sweated off add the mashed turnip, parsley, parmesan and chopped chestnuts. Once the ingredients have been combined take off the heat and stuff the turnips. Either place the turnips on a baking tray or in an oven proof dish glaze with the olive oil and then put in oven to cook for about 40 mins.
- Whilst the turnips are cooking chop up your red paper and put in saucepan along with your vegetable stock and 3 sprigs of dill. Bring to the boil and then let the pepers simmer for around 15 mins, until they are soft, puree the mixture and put to one side. Put a pan of boiling water on and take a heatproof bowl big enough to sit on top of the pan. In the bowl beat the egg yolks and then place bowl on top of the simmering pan along with the pureed red peppers. Continue to beat the mixture in the bowl for about 10 mins until the mixture thickens up then gradually add the butter in small amounts, once all the butter has been added season to taste.
- Finish browning off the turnips by turning the oven up to 220 C for the last 10 mins take out of oven and plate up pouring the sauce around them and serve.
Jan’s Thoughts: This is a very welcomed colourful and tasty dish for a winter’s day. The turnip, which can be a bland, and dare I say it humble vegetable, was transformed into a satisfying and filling dish. I did not think it was necessary to serve this dish with anything else as it was quite filling. It is also the kind of dish were the turnips can be prepared in advance and finished off later on. All that needs to be done is to make the sauce whilst the turnips are cooking, very definitely one to try.