Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful for Turnips

I have so many things to be thankful for this holiday season.  My health, my healthy family, a warm safe place to call home, good friends, a job and good food to eat. Of course there are many more things to be thankful for, but this being a blog about cooking homemade meals, I'll stop at good food.  Recently our CSA box contained a nice supply of turnips, which happen to be a perfect addition to a Thanksgiving feast.  Admittedly, they have never had a place on my family's table but perhaps they will now.  If you're bringing a dish to someone's house, this is a great option.  Make it ahead and warm it in the oven before serving.  Here is how to make Turnip Gratin with Almonds~
These are hakurei turnips, which have a very thin skin and do not need to be peeled.  If you are using "regular" turnips you will need to peel them first.  This is about 2lbs.

They should be sliced thin (1/8 inch thick).  You can use a food processor, a mandolin or a good old fashioned knife.  I love this mandolin, just set it to the thickness you want and you can bang those puppies out in no time.
See how nice they come out?   Love that thing.  OK, moving on....
Next you need to whisk together in a large skillet, some cream (this is not of course something we're going to make everyday but a little cream never hurt anyone as long as you're not going nuts), a little flour, some garlic, lemon zest, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, pepper
 and some fresh thyme. 
Add the turnips and simmer until softened.  Next you pop them into a 2 qt baking dish, cover and bake for 35-40 min.
While the turnips are baking in the oven, you make a topping which calls for fresh breadcrumbs, sliced almonds and a little more thyme and fresh parsley.  Bread lasts about 4 days in this house so I used panko breadcrumbs and thought they worked just fine.  You toast them up in a skillet and sprinkle of the top of the gratin when it comes out of the oven.
Now don't you have the perfect spot on your Thanksgiving table for these?  If not, make one!

Turnip Gratin with Almonds (Food Network Magazine)

2 lbs turnips (about 5 medium)
1 cup plus 2 Tbs heavy cream
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
Large pinch of ground cinnamon
salt and pepper
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (or panko)
3 Tbs sliced almonds, roughly chopped
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350.  Peel and slice turnips 1/8 inch thick.  Whisk cream, flour, 1 tsp thyme, garlic, lemon zest, nutmeg, cinnamon, 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the turnips and bring to a simmer over medium heat; cover and cook until softened, about 3 min.

Stir the turnip-cream mixture and spread evenly in a 2 quart baking dish.  Cover with foil until turnips are very tender, 35-40 min.  Uncover and continue baking until cream mixture is slightly thickened and top is golden, about 10 more min.

Meanwhile, make the topping: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the breadcrumbs, almonds and remaining 1 tsp thyme and cook, stirring, until the breadcrumbs are toasted about 4 min.  Stir in the parsley and a pinch of salt.  Remove gratin from the oven and sprinkle with breadcrumb topping.

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