Ready to explore a new flavor profile?

turnip, photo by JamainMy quest for tasty soup never ends. Somehow it seems extraordinarily difficult to find solid recipes that offer consistent results. I’ve been fooled by those one-off attempts where some magical alchemy transforms dull ingredients into culinary gold… only to discover the process can never again be repeated.

As soon as the weather turns chilly and cool winds begin to blow, I’m ready to pull out the stockpot. Lately I’ve been having fun wilting greenery into hot broth. Who knew that could be such fun?

Unh, I guess everyone in my family and the previous hundred generations, but nevermind.

A kid at the local market introduced me to what he calls the “weird” vegetable aisle (really it’s just a bin because we’re talking small local grocery here). Anyhow, I hated to burst his bubble but turnips, parsnips, and the like are not exactly unknown quantities. He clearly bemoans his lack of agrarian roots.

Did you see that? Roots…turnips… haha. Nevermind.

Even so, many modern cooks stick to the basic ingredients they grew up eating which means a big section of the produce aisle gets passed over on a regular basis. Too bad. Good stuff is tucked away in the corners. Check out one of those nifty ingredients and try something new. Here’s an idea: Turnip Stew.

In case you didn’t know, turnips can be substituted for potatoes in many dishes. No, they don’t taste like potatoes because… well, they aren’t potatoes. They do taste a bit like large radishes (although not as peppery). If you don’t know what a radish is, time for you to visit the farmer’s market. Go. Now.

The rest of you can put turnips on the shopping list and make stew. It’s easy – just swap out the potatoes. Why not try replacing your standby food stuffs with some new flavors and see what you think? Let me know how it goes. I’ve got my eyes on something called salsify (mostly because it’s fun to say out loud) and a root called oca from South America (which looks suspiciously like a potato).

Let the cooking commence.

Need a basic stew recipe? Try THIS ONE.

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