Turnips and Rutabagas: Recipes for Two Great Roots That Deserve More Love
These root vegetables are both at their best in cold weather. Try glazed turnips with bacon, shepherd's pie with rutabaga mash, rutabaga fries, carrots and turnips with minty yogurt, and beef stew with turnips to help you get through the winter.
If beets, parsnips, and carrots are what you most frequently think of when you hear "root vegetables," then it's time to get to know their rounded cousins, rutabagas and turnips. There is so much more to love when it comes to this family of foods grown just beneath the ground.
Perhaps the petite and trendy hakurei (Japanese) turnip is responsible for the burgeoning interest in the mature roots that used to languish, unchosen, at farmers' markets and supermarkets. The appealing hakurei—irresistibly plump and impossible to pass up when they arrive (tops on) at market—is the gateway turnip to the stronger personality of the more enigmatic and mature root, whose plainer appearance disguises its versatile nature. And then there is the weighty rutabaga, turnips' Brassica cousin, and in reality a gentle vegetable that plays well with others. Because they are sold super-sized, at their most mature stage, rutabagas can be intimidating. But those tough skins camouflage a vegetable that offers interesting options. Sliced mandoline-thin, rutabaga can star in a winter-white salads, with other pale and crunchy vegetables like turnips, Belgian endive, and parsnip (add pomegranate seeds for bling). When roasted, rutabaga is mellow, with a unique flavor. Grated and cooked gently with white wine and aromatics, it is a compelling dish. Mashed, it's the perfect topping a full-bodied shepherd's pie.
Whether you discover turnips-with-tops in summer, boldly bare in fall, or imposing rutabagas at the end what can seem like a relentless cold-weather parade of subterranean starches, both vegetables offer far more range in terms of culinary possibilities than they are credited with. Give them a try and you're sure to be converted to the wonders of these unassuming, omnipresent roots.
Glazed Turnips with Bacon
Assertive mustard offsets the mild sweetness of turnips tossed in maple syrup and cider vinegar glaze where the smokiness of good bacon sings.
Shepherd's Pie with Rutabaga Topping
Steamed Japanese Turnips
Impeccable ingredients call for the purist's approach: as little interference as possible. Steaming perfect little white turnips alongside their greens preserves their flavor. Use a good quality soy sauce to accentuate their sweetness.
Grated Rutabaga with Parmesan
Tender Carrots and Turnips with Mint Dressing
Steamed tender carrots and young turnips are tossed while still warm in a fruitily acidic dressing that combines rice vinegar with apricot marmalade. Fresh mint adds a final, nose-tingling flourish.
Scott Peacock's Quick-Pickled Crudités
Quick-pickling is an ideal technique for transforming any root vegetable into an explosively-flavored snack. Crunchy turnips are great candidates for this brisk seasoned-vinegar bath.
Find solace in the cold months in this warmingly smooth bowl of fragrant puréed apple and creamy rutabaga.
Fireside Beef Stew
Winter is about embracing the pleasure of slow-cooked stews, where dinner cooks itself in a single pot for aromatic hours. Turnip adds gentle sweetness to the umami-rich combination of beef, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine.
Rutabaga Oven Fries
Farmhouse Chowder with Rutabagas and Turnips
Quick-Brined Corned Beef and Vegetables
If you've never corned your own beef, now is the time. The satisfying process takes just five days, and the reward is a plateful of aromatic slices whose famous saltiness is complemented by the mildness of steamed baby turnips.