Turnips. Such an unsexy word for a defiantly unsexy vegetable. Yet often surprises await in unlikely places. Like marrying the technique of braising (eg. moist cooking) with the simple turnip. When braised the porous root will soak up your favorite flavors like a sponge. Prefer a Mediterranean twist? Use broth, garlic and thyme or rosemary and a little tomato. Want an assertive Spanish side dish? Add bittersweet pimenton, orange juice and a splash of sherry vinegar and garnish with chopped almonds. Greek? Do a simple olive oil and water braise and finish with Egg-Lemon Sauce. As for me, last night I went kind of wild and decided to add heat and silkiness to complement the natural sweetness of the cooked turnip. Heat was supplied by a liberal amount of Korean Spicy Miso paste and butter made the finished dish luscious. (An aside here; Korean Spicy Miso Paste is gochujang- the one in the red box). From unpeeled raw root to finished dish it took approximately 30 minutes. I’ll go wild with turnips anytime.
Butter Braised Turnips with Korean Chile-Miso Paste
1 lb turnips (approx 4-5)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 heaping soup spoon Gochujang
Water or chicken broth
Salt to taste
Cut the stem end off the turnips, peel them and trim the root end. Cut them in quarters lengthwise. Find a pan in your kitchen that will fit the turnips snugly in a single layer. Melt the butter with the olive oil over low heat. Turn the heat off. Add the gochujang to the pan and stir it around a bit. Arrange the turnips in a single layer in the pan over the butter-oil-gochujang mixture. Add enough water or chicken broth to come halfway up the turnips. Sprinkle salt lightly on the turnips. Cut a piece of parchment paper in a circle big enough to completely cover the turnips. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until turnips just barely tender when pierced with a paring knife. If you use the parchment paper it will take about 10 minutes, if not about 15 minutes. Check frequently, carefully moving the turnips with tongs or a spatula.
Remove the lid and the parchment paper, being careful of the steam. If the liquid is still thin in the pan then turn up the heat to reduce the juices while you shake the pan a bit to let the turnips glaze in the sauce. As soon as the liquid is thickened and the turnips are knife tender they are done. If you wish, garnish with cilantro leaves and a bit of thinly sliced green onion.