Turnips are one of those old-fashioned vegetables that so often get overlooked for being too utilitarian or unglamorous. This is a sad fact considering that they are a delicious and versatile root. If you don’t think you like them, or haven’t had them since you were a kid, you may want to try them again. I can see how they might be a somewhat acquired taste, but only because they are so surprisingly complex; there’s a comfortingly familiar root-ish-ness to them that may remind you a bit of potato or parsnip but if you eat them raw you’ll notice a faint cabbage-like flavour and the crisp, almost juicy texture of a radish. The versatility I mentioned comes from the fact that despite how unique they are as a stand alone vegetable, they also sop up any other flavour they are cooked with making them ideal for soups and stews. Here, the turnips were trimmed and cut into wedges, tossed with balsamic syrup, olive oil, rosemary and garlic and roasted until the turnips were tender and slightly caramelized.
This dish is a breeze to throw together and goes well with meats or chicken. If you don’t have the balsamic reduction on hand, you can make some by heating 1/2 a cup of balsamic vinegar over medium heat until it has reduced by a bit more than 1/2 it’s original volume. Another note: I used nearly a whole head of garlic which might seem extreme, but it gets roasted and mellow and really compliments the earthy turnip flavours. Be as brave as you can with the garlic when making this.
Roasted Turnips with Balsamic and Rosemary
preheat the oven to 375 degrees
4 medium turnips (about 3 lbs)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves pulled from the stem but not chopped
8-10 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
1 pinch chili powder
1 pinch smoked paprika
1/4 cup reduced balsamic vinegar or balsamic syrup
a generous drizzle of olive oil (3-4 Tablespoons)
salt and pepper
Wash and trim the turnips, removing any dark spots and the rough skin at the root and leaf ends. Cut crosswise and then cut each half into 6 wedges. Add garlic and rosemary. Pour over the balsamic and olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika and chili, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 1 hour in a hot (375 degree) oven until the turnips are tender and browned.