I made this turnip dish for Christmas Eve dinner and again last night. Wow, is it delicious! I grew up being served turnip at holiday dinners, and I always found them to be bitter. I think my mom even added a little sugar to them when she mashed them, but I still found them to be bitter. Well, this dish is not bitter at all, and no sugar is added. Just butter, milk, salt and pepper. So simple, yet so delicious.
I learned something when I made this. I learned that there are different kinds of turnips: yellow and white. I also learned that yellow turnips and rutabagas are the same thing. Who knew?
This dish is really tasty and the caramelized shallots are a nice foil for the turnip.
As listed in the recipe, the shallots take 30 – 40 minutes to cook, but I advise watching them when you get close to the 30 minute mark. They can go from a pale light brown to burned in a matter of minutes. On Christmas Eve, the shallots were perfect. Yesterday, I was distracted because we had some friends over, and I turned away from the shallots on the stove. The next thing I knew, they were burned. I was lucky because I was able to save a few shallots that were almost burned, but not quite, for this photo.
A couple of good things came out of finding this recipe. 1. I found an incredibly delicious side-dish. 2. I found out that one of my sons likes crispy shallots! He ate many of the burned ones and loved the taste. Just wait until he tries shallots that aren’t burned. He’s in for a real treat!
I hope you like this recipe. I really loved it. I don’t think I’ll make turnip any other way.
I pulled out one of my old cookbooks for this recipe. My sister gave me this cookbook for Christmas years ago, and I actually hadn’t used it in quite some time. I’m glad I cracked the binding again. I’ll flip through it to see what other recipes catch my eye. I’ll keep you posted if I find any.
If you don’t want to make this recipe but you want to try it, head down to the Union Square Cafe in NYC. It’s one of their standard side dishes. Yum!
Mashed Yellow Turnips with Crispy Shallots
From The Union Square Cafe Cookbook by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano
1 1/2 cups light olive or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 to 6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
2 large yellow turnips (rutabagas), about 4 pounds total
1 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) salted butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil and unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it reaches 220 degrees F. Reduce the heat to low, add the shallots, and cook until they are a rich golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. The temperature should stay below 260 degrees F. Stir the shallots occasionally to make sure they brown evenly. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain well, and spread out to cool on paper towels. Once they have dried and crisped, they can be stored at room temperature, covered, for several days.
Peel the turnips to remove the waxy skins and cut them into generous 1-inch chunks. Place them in a saucepan with water to cover and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until easily pierced by a paring knife, about 35 minutes. Drain.
In a separate saucepan, heat the milk and salted butter over low heat until the butter has melted and the milk just begins to simmer.
Puree the turnips in several batches in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. With the motor running, add the melted butter and milk in a steady stream. The turnips should be smooth.
Return the puree to the saucepan, season with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper, and reheat, stirring, over medium heat. Serve piping hot, sprinkled generously with crispy shallots.
Yield: 6 servings