Our focus this Winter is to cook more Winter vegetables. We love them, but our Winters are usually filled with the same old culprits – carrots, potatoes, greens, eggplants, and so forth. The great produce of Winter – swedes, turnips, parsnips, the huge variety of greens, daikon – appears less often on the kitchen bench. So our focus this year is to include them more often.
In the Middle East it is common to cook turnips with Date Molasses, and it is the time of the year (Ramadam) as I write, where date-anything is available in the local Middle Eastern shops. But having just made our Winter batch of Quince Molasses, we used this instead, and the result is truly delicious. I have heard that this dish is common in Iraq and that Iraqi Jews can serve it as a dessert. It is not surprising -it is that sort of dish that can be served either as a savoury one or sweet one.
It is an easy dish to make, and the resulting sauce – turnipy and quincy – is perfect. I can also imagine that a dish of turnips slow cooked with fresh quince fruits would be spectacular too!
Similar recipes include Punjabi Turnip Curry, Butter Braised Turnips, Leeks with Quinces, Sweet Quince Relish, Spicy Turnips in Yoghurt, Quince Molasses, Turnips with Mustard Greens in a Creamy Sauce, and Turnip Soup.
Turnips with Quince Molasses
500g small white turnips (not the large ones called swedes in Australia and Europe)
2 – 3 Tblspn quince molasses (or use date molasses)
sea salt to taste
white pepper (optional)
Peel the turnips. If they are small enough, leave them whole, or cut them into wedges. Place in a pan and drizzle the molasses over them.
Add water to the pan to just cover the turnips, add the salt and bring to the boil. Cook, uncovered, until the turnips are very tender and the liquid had reduced.
The liquid will serve as a sauce to the dish. If the turnips are cooked but the sauce is not reduced enough, remove the turnips, turn the heat to high and reduce until around half a cup of sauce is left.
Serve the turnips hot or cold with the sauce and a sprinkling of white pepper (omit if not serving the turnips as a savoury dish). Sprinkle with just a few herbs.