I was going through the dinner food line at my Grandparents house. All the cousins, aunts and uncles were there, so a pretty long line. Each stop in the line fills your plate more and more and it all looks great. I got to the mashed potatoes and gravy and took a pretty good size scoop. When I got to the kids table, I sat down and went straight for the “potatoes”. Unfortunately, they were not potatoes but mashed turnips. Yuck! From then on, I would tell people, there is nothing I won’t eat but turnips. Double Yuck!
All these years later, I still hadn’t ever eaten turnips. It’s funny, in retrospect, it wasn’t that I didn’t like turnips. It was the shock of getting them mashed, when I was expecting potatoes. Even when we got turnips in our CSA, we just gave them away (my wife doesn’t care for them either).
So, we got stuck with the turnips a week back and couldn’t give them away. After 30 years (give or take) I decided I’d give them a try again. I hit up Google and found a number of interesting recipes. The one I settled on was from a favorite Chef, Vivian Howard (a fellow North Carolinian). Here is a PDF of her recipe “Berkshire Pork, Turnip and Sweet Potato Stew“. I did my usually modifications to give it my own little spin, but WOW and Double Yum! With the weather getting cooler and it being turnips and sweet potato season, I highly recommend this one. We’ll be making it again. My wife even loved it.
The stew was surprisingly light. I left the herbs in whole and picked the stems (all the leaves just fall off during the braise) and bay out. The gremolata added a citrus punch and herbaceousness.
- 1 ½ pounds pork Boston butt
- 2-3 tbsp flour
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bunch turnips (diced) with greens
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- 2 carrots, cubed
- 2 celery stocks, diced
- ½ a large onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2-4 cups low sodium beef stock
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 sugar cubes (1 tbsp brown sugar)
- 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Ingredients for Gremolata
- Zest of one lemon
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- Heat a Dutch oven to medium high and add oil. Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper, dust with the flour and brown on all sides. Remove the pork and set aside.
Add the onions, celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables until softened and add the garlic. Cook another minute or two and add tomato paste. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan.
- Reduce the heat to simmer and add the pork back to the pot. Add the stock until the pork is covered (use water if needed). Add sugar, bay, rosemary and thyme and cover with lid. Allow to simmer for 1 ½ hours.
- Add turnips and cook for 5 minutes. Add sweet potato and cook for another 5 minutes until the potatoes are barely tender. Add the turnip greens and allow to wilt a bit.
- For the gremolata, just add the lemon zest, minced garlic and parsley together and toss to combine.
- To plate, add a serving to a big bowl and garnish with the gremolata. Enjoy!
I love braising stuff. It takes a while but is always worth the wait. Chicken, pork or in this case beef cooked in delicious liquids low and slow, there isn’t much better. The beauty is you can use inexpensive cuts, tough cuts and the braise breaks them down to their most tender. Whenever the weather dips down, I immediately start thinking braising. My local grocery had good looking beef short ribs, I had some Rio Bertolini potato gnocchi (we get them at our Saturday Morning Market) and so this is what I came up with. Red wine braised beef short ribs, pepper-potato gnocchi, with steamed baby carrots and haricot verts.
This one was good, like put on the list to do again in a few weeks good. The braise was a slight adaptation of a recipe by Anne Burrell. I added the potato gnocchi as the starch and was it perfect with this. With the richness of the braise I wanted to balance it out a little so I added the baby carrots and haricot verts (which I just happened to have in the fridge). Just to add another pop, I garnished with fresh baby arugula. Yum!
Talk about enjoying the fruits of your labor (twice). Later on in the week I popped the leftovers, minus the bones into a pot on medium heat. Once the meat and veg was warm I shredded it with a fork, added a jar of my favorite store bought pasta sauce (Mario Batali’s Arribbiata Sauce). I added that to some spaghetti rigati and some of the pasta water. It was outstanding. OUT. STANDING.
- 5-6 bone-in beef short ribs
- Koshar salt
- Olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 spanish onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups tomato paste
- 2-3 cups hearty red wine (I used Beaujolias)
- 1 cup unsalted beef stock, 1 cup water
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 package fresh or frozen gnocchi
- 1 punch of haricor verts (or reqular green beans)
- 1 punch baby carrots, cleaned and cut in half
- 1 hand full of baby arugula
- First, heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once hot add olive oil. Sear the short ribs on all sides until a crust if formed. Do this in batches if necessary. Don’t crowd the ribs. Once seared, remove and set aside.
- Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, add all the vegetables to a food processor and puree. Once you are done searing the ribs, add the vegetables and generously season with salt and crushed red pepper (to taste).
- Continue cooking vegetables until brown (not burned), stirring constantly.
- Once the veg is brown add tomato paste and cook approximately 4 more minutes, stirring.
- Add red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove the brown bits. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half.
- Return the short ribs to the pan. Add the stock and water mixture until almost covering the ribs. Add thyme and bay. Cover and place in pre-heated oven for three hours.
- Check the pan once an hour and add more liquid if necessary. During the last 20 minutes of cooking, remove the lid and allow the braise liquid to reduce.
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Cook gnocchi until they rise to the top of the pot. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- When the braise is almost done, place carrots and haricor vert in a steamer of the same boiling water and steam until desired tenderness (I prefer crunchy).
- Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and sauté gnocchi until slightly browned, season with salt.
- To serve, place the gnocchi and steamed vegetables on the bottom. Place one short rib in the center of the plate and top with braising liquid. Garnish with baby arugula. Enjoy.