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Roasted Turnips with Maple and Cardamom

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Serves eight.

  • To learn more, read:
    Flip Sides
  • by Susie Middleton from Fine Cooking
    Issue 101

For those who can’t imagine turkey without a side of mashed turnips, here’s a new take on the vegetable. An intriguing sauce laced with coriander and cardamom gives the dish surprising complexity.

  • 3-1/2 lb. purple-top turnips, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice (10 cups)
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro (or a mix of parsley and mint)

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 475°F. Line two large, heavy-duty rimmed baking sheets with foil. In a mixing bowl, combine the turnips, oil, and 11/2 tsp. salt. Toss to coat well. Divide the turnips between the two pans and spread evenly in one layer. Roast for 20 minutes. With a large spatula, flip the turnips. Swap the pans’ positions and roast until tender and nicely browned on a few sides, 15 to 20 minutes. (The turnips on the lower rack may be done sooner than those on the upper rack.)

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla, and red pepper flakes, and then the coriander and cardamom, until the sauce is heated, 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.

Transfer the turnips to a large mixing bowl. Gently reheat the sauce, if necessary, and stir in the lemon juice. With a heatproof spatula, toss the sauce with the turnips. Add half of the cilantro and salt to taste and toss again. Transfer to a warm serving dish and garnish with the remaining cilantro.

Make Ahead Tips

This dish can be made a day ahead. To reheat, put the dressed turnips (without the cilantro) in a large nonstick skillet and cover with a lid. Heat gently over medium-low heat until warmed through,stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.Add the cilantro and season to taste with salt just before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 140; Fat (g): 8; Fat Calories (kcal): 70; Saturated Fat (g): 2.5; Protein (g): 1; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3; Carbohydrates (g): 16; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 320; Cholesterol (mg): 10; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Really nice flavors, but the previous reviewers are right about the temperature being too high. Roasting is supposed to result in caramelization, but there's a difference between caramelization and char! Next time I'll try 450 or even 425 - but there will definitely be a next time!

I made this for valentines day and my wife loved it. I also included one beet which turned the dish red, appropriate for the holiday. I only had maple flavored syrup with Splenda, but it still worked out fine.

This recipe was a hit at Thanksgiving. My sister loved it and had seconds or thirds. I couldn't tell! She said she usually doesn't like turnips and asked me for the recipe. I took the previous reviewer's advice and roasted the turnips at 350, so they would not burn. And I did make the dish one day ahead and reheat it in a skillet on Thanksgiving day. This method worked well.

This is the best way I've ever had turnips. I skipped the chili flakes and enjoyed the sweet maple syrup and other flavours as they balanced the turnip bitterness. I did find 475 was too high to roast at, some ended up blackened before they cooked through.

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