Turnips show up regularly in CSA shares but are too often relegated to the back of the fridge where they remain until they’re far past using. We took it upon ourselves to embrace the turnip and tested a variety of ways to prepare them. I’ve come to appreciate their sweet, peppery nature and how, in combination with other root vegetables or starches, can lighten a dish.
In this recipe for Yellow Eye Beans with Turnips, the turnips complement and enhance the characteristic resemblance of Yellow Eye beans to potatoes, the flavor of each playing off the other. Winter turnips are at their peak now, making it a great time to get better acquainted with them!
Yellow Eye Beans with Turnips
2 cups diced bacon (nitrate-free) [5 to 6 slices thick bacon]
1 – 2 jalapeno peppers, fine dice
2 teaspoons chopped garlic [2 cloves]
2 cups diced onions [2 medium-sized onions]
1 pound Yellow Eye beans, soak overnight and drain
2 bay leaves
2 quarts chicken stock
2 sprigs thyme
2 pounds turnips, ½” dice
Salt and pepper
- Render the bacon in a heavy bottomed pot.
- Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and sauté until the onion is transparent.
- Put the chicken stock, beans, bay leaves, and thyme into the pot and bring to a slow simmer.
- Cook the beans, uncovered or with lid ajar, until cooked half-way (45 – 60 minutes, depending on age of beans). Stir in the turnip. Add more water Ii necessary; beans should be barely covered.
- Continue simmering until the beans are tender (another 30 – 45 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
— Adapted from Chef Peter Davis, Henrietta’s Table
Notes: Soaking beans overnight allows them to cook more evenly, but even soaking them the morning of the day you’re planning on cooking them helps. The original recipe calls for 1 gallon of chicken stock, resulting in a soupier dish — I cut the amount of stock to 2 quarts, and added water to cover as necessary during cooking; this allowed me to control the amount of resulting pot liquor. This dish can be finished with chopped parsley and, if you’re feeling festive, fried sage leaves makes for a beautiful seasonal garnish. This recipe makes a large quantity and is easily halved for smaller families.
Come visit us at the Seacoast Eat Local Winter Farmers’ Market this Saturday, November 20, at the Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford, where we will have free copies of this recipe plus another for “Turnips in Mustard Sauce” at the Seacoast Eat Local information table. Embrace the turnip, and learn the versatile potential of this week’s featured winter vegetable!