Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Spicy Turnips with Bacon
Like potatoes, turnips and bacon are traditional Irish foods (although admittedly hot sauce and hot peppers are not). In addition to the regular bicolor white & purple turnips most people are familiar with, turnips also come in solid white and also in vibrant red, as shown on the left.
The following recipe was inspired by traditional Irish recipes for turnips, and features a peppery kick for folks who like spicy foods. You can adjust the quantities as you see fit, keeping in mind that 1 lb of turnips generally serves four. Select small, firm, relatively smooth turnips for mildest flavor, and avoid any that have soft or wrinkled spots.
1 lb turnips
Salt to taste (you can omit if you prefer)
Several shakes of hot sauce, to taste (I recommend a tasty hot pepper sauce that's not too vinegary -- Boyle's Irish Scream Hot Sauce is excellent, plus it has an Irish theme)
A small bunch of parsley, chopped
Wash and peel the turnips, then cut into small pieces. Boil in a large pot until fork-tender but not falling apart - about 15 to 20 minutes. While the turnips are cooking, fry the bacon until fully cooked but not too crispy. Place cooked bacon on paper towels to drain, and reserve a few tablespoons of bacon grease in the frying pan. When turnips are done, drain well and add to the reserved bacon grease. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to move the turnips into a serving bowl, leaving any excess grease in the frying pan. Coarsely chop the cooked bacon and add to the turnips, together with the chopped parsley and a few splashes of hot sauce. Stir to combine, then serve.
Mashed Version: For mashed turnips, boil the turnips until fully soft and easily mashed, then drain and place in large bowl. You can discard all the bacon grease (or save it for another recipe). Mash the turnips, then fold in the chopped bacon and parsley and serve.