These are the seven medium-sized turnips for which I paid EIGHT DOLLARS Saturday at the Greenmarket. I was so shocked when the guy said "eight dollars" that I just handed him a twenty with the same sense of impending shame I feel when splurging on a dress at Bergdorf Goodman. As god is my witness--isn't your number one association with turnips the starving Scarlett O'Hara, defiantly gnawing a raw turnip as she plots her revenge on the world? Or peasants, or pig slop? My determination to appreciate these precious turnips is strong. Half of them went into this week's buffalo stew. The other half may meet the same fate as their cousins who served to make last week's stew.
I have been playing pastry chef too often lately--brown sugar pound cake, peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies, cinnamon ice cream--and so looked to Deborah Madison for a vegetable stew that would make me feel a little more virtuous. Braised turnips with thyme turned out to be just what I was looking for, and it even won male approval. I also got to know a new vegetable--rutabaga, which I had never even seen before, as far as I can remember. It looks like...a big turnip.
-Put a big pot of water on to boil. Peel one pound of turnips and cut them into sixths. Peel 2 rutabagas and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Add salt to boiling water and parboil the turnips for 1 minute, rutabagas for 3 minutes.
-Melt 2 tbs butter in your stew pot over medium heat. Add 1 finely diced onion, 3 cloves of garlic cut in half, the rutabaga, 1 diced carrot, and 4 sprigs of thyme. Cook for 4 minutes.
-Add the turnips to your pot. Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp salt and 2 tsp flour [I do not know whether you're supposed to stir the flour in or leave it on top. I left it on top and am not quite sure what it added here.] Cover, turn heat to low, and cook for 4 minutes.
-Stir in 1/5 cups water and 2 tbs chopped parsley. Simmer, covered, until turnips are tender, about 15 minutes.
-Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in 1 tsp Dijon mustard and 1/4 cup cream. Cook for 2 more minutes and serve.