Showing posts with label braised. Show all posts
Showing posts with label braised. Show all posts

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Browned Butter Braised Baby Turnips

Sweet baby turnips, cooked till tender then pan-roasted in browned butter are seasoned with garlic and thyme for a special side dish where this much maligned root vegetable shines.

When I say much maligned, I am talking about by me personally. When I was young, my mom made a delicious vegetable soup with beef that was the perfect meal for a chilly day, except that in addition to chunks of potato, she also added similarly cut turnips. Try as I might when serving my bowl, I invariably ended up with a turnip or two. I did not like turnips, not one bit. The potential of the unexpected bitter bite made eating that otherwise tasty soup like spooning my way through a minefield of bitter turnips that might be masquerading as innocent potatoes.

I am more fifty years old now and I decided at the end of last year that I should give turnips another try. After all, some say that our tastes change every seven years and it has probably been a good 35 or 40 since I last accidently ate a turnip. (I certainly never ate one intentionally.) My mom says that since turnips are a winter crop, that is when they are they are tender and most flavorful.  

Before Christmas I bought a few and started searching “turnip recipes for haters”  and “turnip recipes for turnip haters.” A surprising number show up! Time for a true confession: Despite the research and initial enthusiasm my motivation was low and I ended up conveniently forgetting the turnips in the vegetable drawer. I found them there, wizened, in the new year and threw them away with just the slightest twinge of regret and guilt for wasting food.

When the root vegetable event was announced for Sunday Supper, I knew what I had to do: Pull up my big girl panties, buy some more turnips and get serious about creating a recipe that I might eat. I found some baby turnips that said, “Naturally sweet and tender” which seemed like a promising place to start. The baby turnips brought to mind a recipe I had tested for America's Test Kitchen for brown butter braised new potatoes so the recipe part was settled quickly, even as I put the babies in my shopping basket.

I am pleased to tell you that I am now a turnip eater. At least of baby ones cooked with browned butter, garlic and thyme. Sure, some of them were still a little bitter but not any more than Brussels sprouts, which I adore.

Small turnips work best with this recipe, but you could also use larger turnips and quarter them.

1 lb or 450g baby turnips
1 cup or 240ml water
3 tablespoons or 43g unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra to garnish, if desired
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Top and tail the turnips. That is, trim both the root and the stem ends down to the white part. Cut the baby turnips in half.

Arrange turnips in single layer, cut side down, in a large non-stick skillet.

Add water, butter, garlic, thyme, and salt and bring to simmer over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until turnips are just tender, about 10 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer garlic to small bowl with the lemon juice. Use the tip of a sharp knife to cut the garlic into small bits. Add in a few generous grinds of fresh black pepper.

Increase the heat under the uncovered turnip pan to medium-high and vigorously simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until the water completely evaporates and the butter starts to sizzle, 7 to 10 minutes.

Continue to cook turnips, swirling pan frequently, until butter browns and turnips are golden and roasty looking, 6-7 minutes longer.

Just at the end, add the garlic/lemon juice mixture and toss to thoroughly coat.

If you are transferring the baby turnips to a serving bowl, make sure to scrape the pan with a silicone spatula and drizzle all the lovely browned butter over them.

Garnish with additional thyme, if desired.


Are you a fan of root vegetables? If your answer is yes, you are in for a treat this week with such a great line up of recipes from our Sunday Supper tastemakers. If not, perhaps we’ll win you over! Many thanks to Cindy from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings who is hosting this week.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Braised Venison with Plums

Lean but flavorful, venison benefits from long, slow cooking. The hint of sweetness from the lovely plums pairs beautifully with the lean meat, creating a rich gravy that can be served over rice, potatoes or pasta for an even heartier meal.

It's almost deer hunting season where I come from so I know a lot of folks will have their freezers well stocked before too long. In Dubai, if I want to cook venison, it comes from farms in Australia where the deer roam freely and are completely pasture fed and free from antibiotics or growth hormones. Many years ago, on a holiday in Tasmania, I booked my family to stay overnight on a deer farm. As we drove up the long and winding dirt road to the farmhouse, the deer ran away swiftly as a herd, reminding me more of a school of fish underwater, so fluid, graceful and in sync were their movements. We never did get photos of the skittish deer (understandably!) but dinner that night in our tiny house was a spontaneous meal of foraged wild mushrooms and venison fillets I bought from the farmer, then simply pan-fried. He gave me a quick tour of the spotless abattoir and the area where they hung the meat to age as well. The place is called Deerfield Farm and I'm pleased to say it's still in business, although under new management.

The little B&B sign cracked me up. Our tiny house was it! 

It’s such a lean meat that venison is best cooked either quickly like in a stir fry and served medium rare or braised, that is to say, fried lightly and then cooked long and slow in a closed container.  Since our Sunday Supper theme this week is Warming Trends, we are sharing recipes that will warm you up, from stews and soups to hot beverages and desserts, so you know I had to go the braised route.

I served this delicious warming dish over pasta but it would work as well with mashed root vegetables or rice or even atop soft polenta.

1 lb 9 oz or 710g venison
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
Bacon drippings or olive oil for frying meat
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
5 dark red plums (Mine weighed 13 1/4 oz or 375g)
1/2 cup or 120ml red vermouth
1 3/4 cups or 410ml beef stock
Several sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons corn starch

Trim your meat of any silverside and gristle and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Season the meat with a good sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Now sprinkle on your flour and then toss the pieces around gently to coat.

Chop your onion and garlic. Quarter the plums and remove the stones.

In a skillet over a medium to high heat, brown the meat in batches in a little bacon fat or olive oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Remove each batch as it browns and continue until all the pieces are done.

Add the chopped onions and garlic to pan and sauté until lightly colored and all the sticky stuff on the pan has loosened.

Add half of the sautéed onion and garlic mixture to the bottom of your slow cooker. Then add half of the browned meat along with any juices that have collected in the bowl. Follow those with half of the quartered plums. Sprinkle on half of your fresh thyme.

Repeat with the other half of everything.

Add in the vermouth and the stock.

Cook on low for about six hours without removing the lid. Go get cozy in front of a fireplace if you’ve got one, pour yourself a cup of tea or cocoa and read a good book until the whole house starts smelling wonderful.

Almost done now!

Remove meat and plums with slotted spoon, leaving behind the liquid.

Mix the cornstarch with a little cool water to make a paste.  Add a little of the hot slow cooker liquid into the cornstarch slurry. Add it all back into the slow cooker.

Put the lid back on and turn the slow cooker up to high for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically till the sauce thickens. Return the venison and plums to the pot and warm through. Taste for salt and pepper and add more if necessary.

Serve over wide egg noodles and garnish with some more fresh thyme.


Many thanks to today’s Sunday Supper host, T.R. of Gluten Free Crumbley. It's not actually cold yet where I live but I LOVE this theme. Enjoying warming foods is yet another reason why God created air conditioning.

Main Dishes and Soups