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need a turnip substitute

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I HATE TURNIPS! More often than not, I've almost spoiled a stew with the bitter, nasty things :mad:. Yes, I know the baby ones are "usually" better, but not always. They just aren't worth it for me.

So I've just come across two new braising recipes that, among other, friendlier vegetables, call for (YUCK) turnips and would like to hear about some substitutes. What will add whatever a turnip is supposed to add without adding the nasty stuff it usually adds :D
Emily

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Emily

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post #2 of 14
Message received, Phoebe! :eek:

What's your position on rutabagas (swedes)? They have a milder taste- ast least the varieties I've had here in the midwest. They're a common ingredient in pasties. You could substitute parsnips (very sweet) or just sub with potatoes, I suppose. Can you post the recipe?
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post #3 of 14
Jicama. Fresh water chestnuts. Both will stay crunchy, though.

Sorry to hear you say that about turnips, though. I love 'em. Then again, I've never noticed too much bitterness in them, and even if I had, I might not mind since I like bitter. I love the sharpness they have, and the sweetness when gently cooked.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #4 of 14
I don't like turnips either.....at least not the roots! I will eat the tops but they are almost impossible to find in my area. I love rutabagas and have never thought of subbing them in recipes that call for turnips. I might have to give that a try!

Thanks for asking this question, Phoebe.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
I don't (yet) have a position on rutabagas. Never actually had one that I'm aware of. So until I have a conscious experience of one, I'll have to remain neutral. :D
I LOVE parsnips, but wondered if their sweetness would do something untoward to the recipes.:look:

I found both of these in an old Gourmet magazine from Jan 2002. Just as a point of information, I've been paging/reading through YEARS of Gourmet and Food and Wine and various other food mags in preparation for our great move North. I'm madly tearing out articles and recipes and recycling the rest, so I came upon these two:

"Moroccan-Style Roast Cornish Hens with Vegetables"
Morrocan-Style Roast Cornish Hens with Vegetables Recipe at Epicurious.com

"Braised Chicken and Vegetables in Peanut Sauce"
Chicken and Vegetables Braised in Peanut Sauce Recipe at Epicurious.com
Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

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post #6 of 14
Swede, as we here in Europe called rutabagas, has a more pronounced flavour to my tastebuds than the milder, smaller purple flushed French turnips.

What about trying kohl rabi? It would go better with a moroccan dish than turnips, anyway!
post #7 of 14
My only concern with subing something for turnips would be if the recipe was using the bitterness on purpose. If they are used to balance other sweet flavours (as they are often used in stews) or really rich meats (as in the french classic Canard avec navets) you could run into trouble by using a sweet tuber in its place.

I would lean towards celeriac or sunchokes, in a generic context. I will add that I really dislike turnips but during cooking school became obsessed with cooking them properly. It was one of those things, like romantic comedies, that even the best examples of would never do anything for me. So it became important for me to know how to do it right for those that did like them. In that process I learned that they do have distinct way of balancing other flavours in a finished dish.


--Al
post #8 of 14
Good point. And the suggestions AlMcP makes are good, too, from a texture standpoint.

But looking at the two recipes that Phoebe has, I wouldn't worry about throwing the flavors out of balance -- there's so much going on in both of them! So if you just leave out the turnips and increase the quantity of one of the other vegs, you'll still have a very tasty dish. :lips:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #9 of 14
Parsnips spring to mind - swedes would work too. Kohl rabi also, depends what you can get in your area.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #10 of 14

Definitely agree with Parsnips...

My grandmother LOVED Turnips. Bitter nasty things...yuk!

She'd roast them like potatoes and then mash them. NO amount of butter or seasoning would help. She put sugar in everything and that didn't even work...bluuuuuuuuuhhhhhh!

Anyway, my brain is escaping me this AM. Celeriac and Celery Hearts...same-ish kind of thing? If not, what AM I thinking of that is similar in appearance to celeriac but isn't? Hmmmmm....

I know celery hearts are good (not the bottoms of bunches of stalks) and aren't strong flavored.

Rutabagas are also decent but they can be unpredictable.

I personally don't like peeling them. Some are pretty tough.

Aren't there some nice Japanese root vegetables that are similar as well?

Now you got me curious. I'm gonna go look around.

April
post #11 of 14
post #12 of 14
You may also wish to consider celery root (aka "celeriac"). It doesn't have the bitterness you abhor in turnips.
post #13 of 14
One trick I use to make turnips more appealing to my kids is to pan sear large cubes in butter until every side is golden. It makes turnips and rutabagas much sweeter when the simmer in a stew like recipe.
Another thing, if your recipe can handle it, balsamic vinegar and/or honey (1 tbsp each is all you need) seems to mask the flavour of turnips.

I make braised chicken drumsticks (pilons)/rutabaga or turnip with balsamic and honey that my kids like!!! (There is little liquids in all which I reduce to nap and serve on pasta)

Last suggestion: butternut squash can serve as an all out replacement but they can disintegrate if cooked too long.

Luc
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post #14 of 14
I loathed swedes thanks to overexposure to badly cooked ones at boarding school. Then I discovered a way to make them edible - grate them and toss them in a pan in butter till they are just heated through. Salt and pepper to taste. Delicious. Possible additions - a little grated ginger and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds.
Pat

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Pat

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