Yesterday, I made my grandmother Ethel McKim’s yellow turnips. I’ve written before about the recipe books she made for my sister-in-law and me the year before she died. Yellow turnips (also called rutabagas) were a particular feature of family feasts on my mother’s side. Her mother’s mother’s parents were born in Germany, and the foods and traditions of the German side ran deep.
Like most people, they gave a meal like Thanksgiving an ethnic twist. In their case, coleslaw and yellow turnips were added to the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy.
Everyone in that line is long gone (except for my cousins and my second cousins, who probably also made yellow turnips yesterday). But funny thing, years ago I brought the turnips to my sister- and brother-in-law’s feast and the family loved them. So now, every year, our Italian, Irish, WASP, Brazilian family enjoys the turnips. So I am offering them to you.
Think you don’t like yellow turnips? Try these. I’ve converted many a skeptic.
1 turnip 2-3 lbs, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 large onions cut up
1 tsp salt
4 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon flour
Cover the vegetables with water. Add the salt and cook on a low boil for 40 minutes or until soft
Save 1 cup of the turnip water before discarding the rest.
Mash the vegetables using a potato masher. Make sure there are no chunks remaining.
In a small pan or fry pan melt 3 or 4 Tablespoons butter.
Add 1 Tablespoon flour stirring quickly.
Continue stirring. Add enough of the turnip water to make a roux. (The roux will be thick and bubbly. If it breaks up, add more water and cook down while stirring.)
Mix the roux into the turnips thoroughly.
Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste. (Grandmother recipes say things like this. It depends on the turnips, but I use a quarter cup of sugar. I lightly cover the top of the mash with salt and pepper, stir it in and repeat.)
The recipes says serves 6 to 8, but on a day like Thanksgiving when there will be many side dishes, it will go further.
My grandmother notes: Good with beef, pork and fowl.
So there you have it. I recommend it. Happy Thanksgiving.