Turnip “Risotto”: Root Vegetables, take 1

June 24, 2010

Aunt Suzy says

I know that you will say this sounds weird – I did when I first learned about it from the owner of Shepherd’s Way Farms, a local Minnesota cheesemaker.  Usually they just offer cheese at the Mill City Farmer’s Market, but one day last summer he had a few bunches of turnips  for sale with beautiful greens attached.  I love cooked turnip greens and these looked great and were the first of the season.  I told him I was buying the turnips for the greens and he introduced me to this recipe for the turnip root.  Shepherd’s Way makes a cheese called Friesiago, which is a sheeps’ milk cheese in the style of Asiago that works well in this dish.  The recipe I found on the internet calls for Parmigiano Reggiano, which is fabulous, of course.  I imagine that Parmigiano, Asiago or Peccorino Romano would all work well – as well as the Friesiago.  So why will you say that this sounds weird?  Because this “risotto” doesn’t have rice in it. It’s a dish made in the classic risotto method, but the turnips substitute for the rice.  I hope you try it – it is delicious!  Turnips are available at the farmer’s markets now through the first frost – the ones shown here are from Loon Organics (another favorite producer!) which is right across from Shepherd’s Way at Mill City.

3 tablespoons EV olive oil

1 red onion, diced to 1/8-inch (I used red spring onions as shown)

1 1/2 pounds turnips, peeled and diced to 1/8-inch

2 cups hot chicken stock

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or less)

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Warm the chicken stock.  Pour the olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened, 6-8 minutes.  Add the turnips and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until they begin to soften.  Add a little of the hot chicken stock and cook over medium-high heat until absorbed, stirring constantly.  Continue with this method until all the stock has been added and absorbed, approximately 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the butter and greated cheese and stir to blend.  Remove from heat, place in a serving bowl and garnish with the parsley.

Serving suggestions: This can be served as a main dish or as a side dish.  It’s great with grilled or roasted chicken.  A white Cotes du Rhone or a rich Sicilian white pairs nicely.

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