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Turnips and Greens

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And now on to business.

Among the many seasonal vegetables available this time of year, turnips are overflowing at our farmer’s market, and are pretty inexpensive at the grocery store as well.  I know for many people, turnips provoke the same sort of response as another ubiquitous fall/winter root vegetable – beets – and that response is not exactly positive.  I posted a recipe for Roasted Beets and Wilted Greens in Feburary 2010, and the only other recipes I’ve ever posted that had more negative feedback are the two beef liver recipes.  Which is really a shame, because those beets are very good.  And, when cooked properly, turnips and their greens are also quite delicious – turnips have a mild, slightly sweet flavor and their greens are firm and chewy –  and they are so very, very good for us.  Turnip greens are an excellent source of A, C and K, and have an appreciable amount of calcium, as well.

This is a hearty, and pretty straight-forward, side dish that goes well with beef dishes like pot roast.  If you want to get really “Southern” with it, sprinkle a few drops of cider vinegar on the greens before serving.

Note:  If your turnips come without greens, or the greens are unsuitable for cooking, substitute another green – collards work very well with this recipe.  You can also substitute the bacon fat/butter with olive oil and the chicken stock with vegetable broth to make this vegetarian.

Turnips and Greens

Turnips and Greens

serves 6

3 medium turnips
1 pound turnip greens, or other greens such as collards
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons bacon fat or butter
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Wash the turnips and greens thoroughly; remove the greens from the turnips, if necessary, and strip them of any heavy center veins. Tear or cut the greens into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl of ice water to prevent them wilting. Set aside.

Peel the turnips and dice. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add the diced turnips; cook just until they start to become tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Melt the bacon fat or butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion until soft and almost translucent, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute more.  Toss the turnips in with the onion and garlic mixture; increase the heat slightly and cook until the turnips begin to brown slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the greens and chicken stock; reduce the heat slightly and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted and tender, but not mushy, and the turnips are cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium high, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 additional minutes, or until the majority of the liquid in the pan has evaporated.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, if desired, before serving.

Nutrition (per serving): 100 calories, 5.1g total fat, 5.3mg cholesterol, 135.3mg sodium, 401.3mg potassium, 12g carbohydrates, 3.7g fiber, 4.1g sugar, 2.9g protein.

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Posted in participation of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

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