Turnip, Turnip and more Turnip.

Hi everybody.

Something I have not touched on that much is seasonality, so I thought I would devote a blog entry to it today.

Seasonality is such a big trend in restaurants today, to the point that it can be pushed as establishment’s USP. However, in times gone by it would not have been seen as a trend but a necessity.

With a lack of refrigeration and only some limited preserving techniques, food had mostly to be to be eaten fresh and when it came to what was on the plate, it was what was available. This would have been even more the case for people who lived on the road, there was a need to use a season’s fresh pickings and be able to create something both tasty and nutritious.

So without further ado, here is a recipe for a great but somewhat underused and oft disliked vegetable that is in season right now.

Turnips served 3 ways with Braised Oxtail (Serves 4)

Braised Oxtail

1kg Oxtail
2 sticks Celery
2 Carrots
1 large White Onion
1 l Beef Stock
500 ml Red Wine
2 tbsp Plain Flour
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
2 Sprigs Thyme
2 Sprigs Rosemary
3 Bay Leaves
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

Turnip Puree

3 large turnips, medium diced
1 l Full Fat Milk
3 Sprigs of Thyme
2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
100g Unsalted Butter
Sea Salt
White Pepper

Turnip Fondant

4 Turnips, trimmed into cylindrical two inch high pucks
100g Salted Butter
1 l Chicken Stock
2 Sprigs Thyme
2 Bay Leaves

Pickled Turnip

2 Turnips, cut into thin sliced rectangles 1 cm by 3 cm
1 l Cider Vinegar
500ml Water
100g Caster Sugar
3 Bay Leaves
2 Sprigs Thyme
10 Black Peppercorns
3 Juniper Berries

Method

Braised Oxtail

Start with your oxtail. If you are purchasing this from the butchers, ask them to trim as much of the fat as possible.

Dredge the oxtail steaks in seasoned flour and fry in a large thick-bottomed pan until browned all over, remove and add all the diced vegetables. Fry these on a low heat until translucent.

Add the thyme, bay and browned oxtail back in the pan and deglaze with the wine. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the beef stock and bring it all to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and put in a preheated oven at 160oc for 3 hrs, checking and stirring after 1.5 hrs.

I like to remove my oxtail and leave to chill, then pick it from the bone.

Skim the sauce of any excess oil and add the picked oxtail back in. Reheat when you are ready to serve with the rest of your dish.

Turnip purée

Dice your turnips to inch size pieces, add to pan with the milk, herbs and seasoning.

Simmer with a lid on for 30 minutes until soft.

Remove and strain the liquid and put to one side.

Using a hand blender or food processor purée the turnip, butter and a small amount of the liquid until smooth. Put to one side.

Fondant Turnip

Start by turning your turnips into nice cylindrical pieces that measure 1.5 inches in diameter and 2 inches in height.

Season the turnip, place the butter in a pan and wait until it is foaming. Add your turnips and lightly colour all over.

Now add the stock and herbs and cover the pan. Regularly turn the turnip from top to bottom to ensure equal cooking, being sure to baste as you go.

The fondant is cooked when soft throughout.

Leave to stand in stock for 10 minutes after cooking.

Turnip Pickle

I like to cut the turnip into either squares or chip shapes that are very thin.

Start by salting your sliced turnip for 30 minutes to extract the water from the turnip. Wash the turnip 3 times and dry on some kitchen towel.

To make the pickling liquor, add all the ingredients to a pan and warm to combine. Once close to the boil, remove from the heat and add the turnip. Cover and leave for at least two hours, the longer the better.

Serve.

Enjoy this Gypsy Chef version of a humble oxtail and turnip stew with a nice glass of good dark ale!

Vive la Turnip!

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