This week's seasonal item was turnips!
I worked Friday night and considered lazing away Saturday morning, but the prospect of going to the farmers' market for the first time in ages propelled me upward and onward. I even remembered to bring a bag with me!
Ponchatoula strawberries graced almost every stand, and while I couldn't resist picking some up, I wanted challenge myself with an ingredient that's not so immediately appealing.
I've never cooked with turnips, and I think I've only eaten them once--kebabs served over turnip cakes, woo boy--but I knew I couldn't go wrong with a recipe from Larousse's Gastronomique, which occasionally terrifies me, but I'm getting better about confronting that fear.
The objectives here [I'm watching my boyfriend play GoldenEye 64--please excuse the lingo] were to prepare risotto, hollow out and blanch turnips, and puree the scooped-out flesh from the turnips.
Once the turnips were blanched and the risotto prepared, I stuffed the latter into the turnips and put them in a buttered gratin dish to roast.
We served these on the side of roast chicken stuffed with lemon thyme, which was finishing roasting in the oven as I added the turnips.
And here we have a lovely, French-inspired dinner.
Stuffed Turnips à la Piémontaise
Serves 3 - 4 (as side)
5 turnips, washed, peeled, and hollowed out
Scooped-out turnip flesh, reserved and pureed
3/4 cup of arborio rice
1 small yellow onion, diced
3/4 stick butter
3 cups chicken stock and 1/3 cup stock, divided
1 cup white wine
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or parmesan)
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. For risotto, melt two tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are golden-brown.
3. Stir in arborio rice for 2 - 3 minutes.
4. Add enough chicken stock to cover the rice. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring often. When the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, add 1/4 cup wine and 1/4 cup stock. Continue to do this for 16 to 20 minutes, until rice is fully cooked. Add salt, pepper, and pureed turnip flesh.
5. Meanwhile, add turnips to a large pot of boiling water. Let cook for 8 minutes, then remove them to a colander and set it under cold, running water.
6. Once the turnips have cooled, pat them dry and place them in a buttered gratin dish. Stuff each turnip with 1 - 2 tablespoons risotto, remaining chicken stock, and remaining butter (melted). Top with breadcrumbs.
7. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes. Test doneness with a wooden skewer.
8. Sprinkle each turnip with grated cheese.