I’ve recently decided to include vegetables such as turnips, rutabaga and celeriac into my cooking regimen. You see, I always avoided these unfamiliar root vegetable at the market simply because I had some vague recollection of disliking them as a child. Plus, I just didn’t know what the heck to do with them that would make them taste good.
To be frank, I have always disliked the smell and taste of cooked turnips. To this day, I cringe at their musky provocative smell. As a child, my mom would boil them in water and drizzle after with olive oil or cut them up into chunks and throw them into a beef stew. I refused to eat them.
On a recent visit to my in-laws, the smell of boiled turnips greeted me at the door. My olfactory senses were jolted and I cringed at that recognizable ‘dog fart’ smell. When the boiled turnips were placed on the table, the bowl was passed around and everyone plucked out a turnip with their fork, everyone except me. I spotted a few boiled carrots in that same bowl, and so as not to offend my mother-in-law, I picked those up instead despite their overcooked, mushy texture. Nevertheless, I still had to explain my reason for not having any of the turnips. I just did not like them.
Recently, while flipping through a cookbook I came across a turnip recipe. I paused and contemplated. The recipe was for turnips dauphinoise, a popular French dish generally made with potatoes and using heavy cream and sour cream, lots of it. I was sold. This was how I would introduce turnips into my household.
If you like scalloped potatoes then you will really enjoy this dish. It’s creamy and really you can’t tell you are eating turnips. In fact, I seriously thought I was eating potatoes. The dill works nicely with the cream-based sauce giving it a light, delicate scent. I really enjoyed them and I will definitely be making this dish again.
For those of you watching your carb intake this year, turnips are lower in carbohydrates (7 grams per cup) versus potatoes (29 grams per cup). If you are wondering about the fat content of the cream sauce, don’t ask, let’s just say: “this dish tastes wonderful”.
turnips dauphinoise (recipe adapted from Low-Carb Vegetarian)
1 tbs butter for greasing casserole dish
8 – 10 turnips, trimmed, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup water
pinch salt and pepper
1) Pre-heat oven to 325 C. Butter a medium-sized casserole or Pyrex dish with lid. YOu can use aluminum foil if you don’t have a lid.
2) Arrange turnip slices in overlapping layers, sprinkle with salt, pepper and dill.
3) Place garlic, cream , sour cream and water in a small sauce pan. Gradually bring to a hot but not a boiling stage, stirring continuously, then remove from heat. Pour the mixture over the turnips and either toss out the garlic or keep it in the dish. I kept my garlic clove and ate it after with the turnips.
4) Bake for approx. 1 hour, until the turnips are tender when pierced with fork. Remove the casserole lid or foil cover and bake for another 10-15 minutes to achieve some added golden colour to your turnips.