Just after I enjoyed the first aubergines of the summer , the vegebox plunged me back into the depths of winter with a avalanche of turnips – my vegetable nemesis. Every autumn I read recipes raving about them being delicious lightly buttered , roasted and gratined. I have tried every methods but I remain unconvinced. No matter what I do to them turnips they taste like bitter compost. I have even tried pickling them, pretty a purple from a slice of beetroot in the pickling liquor but still the taste salted pickled compost.
Only once in a vegetable tagine in Morroco have I manage to enjoy Turnips, heavily spiced and amongst more the palatable carrots and courgettes I just about managed to ignore them. But the rule is we have to eat everything in the vegebox so infused with some Morrocan inspiration I opted to try a Spicy Tagine
Still unsure I could stomach a dish of turnips I opted to add some meat. In Morroco most of the stews were goat but closer to home Mutton is becoming readily available , less fatty than lamb it’s strong flavour can withstand plenty of spice
Somehow the slow cooking and plenty of spice and sweetness from dried prunes managed to mellow the turnips turning them into tasty sponges for the rich gravy . I think peeling them before cooking also helped to remove the bitter aftertaste. Hopefully versions of this recipe will see me through the turnip torrents , unless anyone else has some tried and tasted turnip recipes?
Mutton and Turnip Tagine
Half a shoulder of mutton
300g of turnips
1 handful of dried prunes roughly chopped
1/2 preserved lemon
2 tbsp of ras al hanout ( a spice blend of cardamon , cloves , cinamon , chilli peppers coriander cumin pepercorn tumeric)
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of dried chilli flakes
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 pint of vegetable stock
1. Peel the turnips and cut into 2cm chunks
2. Rub the mutton all over with the ras al hanout
3. Brown the meat in a lidded casserole dish , add onions and garlic
4. Add the turnip , preserved lemons & prunes pour over the stock and cover
5. Bring to a gentle simmer and place in the oven at 180degC for 2.5 hours. then allow to rest for 30 minutes.
6. Remove the meat from the bone , leaving in large chunk
7. Stir in the chopped parsley