Authentic Mashed Turnips

donna

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#1
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Turnips, boiled
Butter

When they (turnips) are boiled quite tender, squeeze them as dry as possible between two trenchers; put them into a sauce-pan; mash them with a wooden spoon, and rub them through a colander; add a little bit of butter; keep stirring them till the butter is melted and well mixed with them, and they are ready for the table.

from: "The Cook's Orace" by William Kitchiner, New York, 1829.

Turnips may be grown more for their greens than their roots today, but in the 19th century they were as popular as parsnips and potatoes. "Trenchers" are slabs of flat bread, used since ancient times as edible dinner plates. In this case, it may be easier to dry the turnips with a clean absorbent cloth. It also might be easier to grate the turnips through a colander then do the mashing with butter in the pot after.
 
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#4
Turnips, boiled
Butter

When they (turnips) are boiled quite tender, squeeze them as dry as possible between two trenchers; put them into a sauce-pan; mash them with a wooden spoon, and rub them through a colander; add a little bit of butter; keep stirring them till the butter is melted and well mixed with them, and they are ready for the table.

from: "The Cook's Orace" by William Kitchiner, New York, 1829.

Turnips may be grown more for their greens than their roots today, but in the 19th century they were as popular as parsnips and potatoes. "Trenchers" are slabs of flat bread, used since ancient times as edible dinner plates. In this case, it may be easier to dry the turnips with a clean absorbent cloth. It also might be easier to grate the turnips through a colander then do the mashing with butter in the pot after.
I wonder why they squeezed them as dry as possible? It is the ‘pot likker’ along with the added greens that make turnips great eating.
 

donna

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#5
This recipe for Creamed Turnips is from "Old Time Recipes To Enjoy". "The Kentucky Explorer Magazine" for November, 2015. This was suggested as vegetable for Thanksgiving dinner. It is one that old timers enjoyed over 100 years ago.

Creamed Turnips

"Two cups of small turnips and one cup of sauce for vegetables. Pare small, young, white turnips and boil until tender; adding salt one half hour before done. Drain and dry over the flame. Prepare sauce for vegetables. Pour over the turnips and let simmer 15 minutes. If small turnips are not obtainable, large ones may be sliced and otherwise prepared as the whole ones."

The Vegetable sauce:

"Three tablespoons of butter, three tablespoons of flour, one cup of milk, one cup of liquid in which the vegetable is cooked, and one teaspoon of salt. Heat the milk in a double boiler, but do not let it reach the scalding point. Rub the butter, flour, and salt together until smooth, then slowly pour over them the heated milk. Stir until smooth and thickened. Milk may be used instead of the liquid in which vegetable is cooked."
 
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#7
Rather than grating and mashing, I just chuck 'em in the blender. Or a food processor if you have one! We sometimes mix them with sweet potatoes, which makes a pleasant golden color.

Although a trencher was originally a flat round of bread, by the end of the Middle Ages the sense had evolved to include wooden and metal plates. It's not completely clear from the recipe which is meant, although it seems like bread would dry them better and wood would press them better. I agree with CSAtoday that drying turnips sounds unnecessary! I wonder if their turnips were woodier and tended to get soggy, or something like that.
 

kevikens

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#10
I very much like mashed turnups but first find the peeling of them a nuisance chore. Anyone know of an any easier way to prepare the darn things?
 

donna

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#11
Another tasty turnip recipe is Turnips with Parmesan Cheese. This is great substitute for mashed potatoes.

2 pounds turnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Cook turnips in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.

In a food processor, finely chop 1/3 of the turnips. Add remaining turnips in 2 batches and course until course paste is formed. Add cream, Parmesan cheese, butter, salt and pepper and process until smooth.
Serve immediately.
 
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#16
As a Southerner, and visiting Cherry Hill, New Jersey relatives, I was surprised to see a bowl of mashed turnips on the Thanksgiving table, but learned it is traditional holiday fare.

In the South, turnips are rarely seen in restaurants, only the baby ones appear to garnish a plate in fine dining establishments. My mother grew them in her garden though, and every fall after the first frost, we had turnips and their tops. I loved them.
 

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