Feb 032012

image-glazed turnips

Consider the humble turnip. Humble, because so many people treat it snobbishly. How would you feel if you were a turnip, lying there hopefully in the supermarket bin and watching all the good cooks strolling past you without a second glance? Even a potato gets better press than a turnip.

I confess, I’ve never been fond of turnips. Except once, my mother peeled and roasted one next to the Shabbat chicken, and it was delicious. It soaked up some of the chicken drippings, and with its natural sweetness it just came out a winner. But I’ve never cooked one till recently.

I got ashamed of myself. There must be goodness in turnips. So I glazed me some young turnips and found them really tasty. Even The Little One, who wishes I would cook pasta every night, ate and liked them. The trick is to buy young, small turnips, and peel them.


The peel is bitter.


What follows is more of a method than a recipe.

Take your small, peeled turnips and either leave them whole or slice them thickly. Simmer them in salted water for 15-20 minutes. They should be just tender when you take them out of the water.

Drain them very well. Heat some oil or butter in a skillet and brown the turnips in it.

Season with salt, pepper, paprika and powdered sugar, turning the turnips around to get colored. Add tablespoons of stock or water (stock is better; can be vegetarian stock) to make a thin glaze. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Chop parsley or celery leaves and roll the turnips around in them. Serve hot.

Try it, you might make a new vegetable friend.


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  30 Responses to “Glazed Turnips Recipe”

  1. Sounds delicious! I oven include turnips in a root vegetable roasted medley, but don’t think I have tried them on their own. Now I have some incentive!

  2. Oven! Should have been often!

  3. You are so right! I can imagine myself like turnip, how sad :(. I’m glad that I’m not one of those who just stare at them, in fact I always chat, and then gently grab them, cook them with love, and eat them with pleasure. Your recipe is very tempting one to try next. Thanks Mimi!

  4. I adore turnips and love this simple way to prepare them! I’ll definitely give this recipe a try!

  5. This recipe looks delicious. It reminds me of the way we cooked turnips in France, and since then I have always liked them. Lately I’ve been finding mild white radishes that are cheaper than turnips and what’s nice is that when I cook them, they taste like turnips.

  6. […] Mimi from Israeli Kitchen gives simple directions for cooking Glazed Turnips. […]

  7. Judy, I didn’t even notice the typo – read it “often,” as you intended. What’s it called when your brain just skims the sentence and fills in words? Anyway, I did that.

    Dewi, how nice to know that someone shares my sentimental feelings about the lonely turnip :).

    Renee, hope you like this way of cooking them.

    And Faye – I don’t recall seeing white radishes here. Are you referring to daikon? Turnips are much cheaper than radishes in Israel. Maybe that’s why they’re so humble.

  8. I did something from turnips some time ago,for the first time in my life,as there was a parsnip challenge among food bloggers writing in Finnish.I cannot say that I fell in love with it,but I might try it again,with your recipe:)

  9. We like them raw. Peel some of the small ones, slice, sprinkle w/ a little bit of sea salt, eat, enjoy! Your recipe looks really good and will definitely try it. Thx.

  10. Yael, have you tried the turnips yet? I’d love to know if you liked it.

  11. Julie, I’ve been wondering if turnips in Israel are stronger-tasting than those grown in colder climates. Local red radishes, for example, are too hot and prickly for me, but the ones I ate in England weren’t hot at all, rather they were slightly sweet.

  12. Mimi,
    In many cases, it’s the soil composition that the vege is grown in that determines hot or mild, not just the variety of the vegetable. When we were children, my grandmother, who was a Levine from Odessa, always put a little butter on radishes for us. Amazingly, it eliminates the strong taste and you still get the nutrition from eating the food raw! Might work for turnips, as well.

  13. Mimi, yes daikon and an even better kind of radish called Korean radish; Koreans call it mu and Chinese call it lo bok. It looks like a very fat radish that the upper half or upper third of the skin is green, the rest is white, inside is white. In the winter it’s sweet and wonderful.

  14. I just finished copying your Green Soup w/Chicken Dumplings recipe onto an index card to take home with me, and I said to my mother, “I wish she’d come out with a cookbook,” and we had a long conversation about how much we love your blog. My mother told me I should tell you the following from our chat:

    Your blog reads like you’re an old friend
    I don’t even bother to test-run your recipes anymore; I feel totally confident making them for the first time for company (and that’s serious – I come from a family of “foodies”)
    We love your photography; It inspires us to create and makes us want to get to Israel
    I want to make every recipe you’ve ever posted,


    We really wish you’d come out with a book – even if it’s just a print version of what you’ve already done in your blog so that we could curl up on the couch reading, looking at pictures, etc (especially me – since I’m mostly cut off from your blog with no internet in the home)

    Please consider it, and please keep writing!

  15. Rivka, thank you for your very kind comment. It’s lovely to know that you have confidence in my recipes; they are dishes that I’ve cooked and fed to my family myself before posting. And if my photos make you and your Mom want to come to Israel, that makes me even happier.
    As for a book…I have been thinking of it, but don’t wish to say more at this time. And you know, when I write, I do imagine my readers as old friends. Very sweet of you to say so!

  16. Faye, I’ve seen the Korean radish here in the shuk. Guess I’ll have to try it now! I once asked a vendor about it and he said that he eats it for his health: “It cleans out the kidneys.” Well, radishes, according to old Yiddisheh bubbies, make you greps. :) How do you eat it?

  17. Mimi, I agree with Rivka that your blog reads like your readers are your friends, and I feel like we’re friends even though we haven’t met yet.

    I too have heard that some root vegetables do better in cold climates. I tried to grow radishes and carrots and they didn’t work at all. The radishes came out far too hot and tough.

    That’s great that you found the Korean radish. If it’s as good as the ones we get, it tastes good just sliced and cooked in water until it’s just tender, and also raw in salad in very thin slices. That sounds boring but it’s a good way to get to know the vegetable at first. I often cook it separately and then add it to vegetable soup because if it cooks a long time its flavor gets “washed out.” (In fact I do that with a lot of vegetables but we can chat about that another time.) Then I would prepare it like your turnip recipe or anything you like with turnips.

    I first bought these radishes after being inspired by this article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/13/FDO1154GQ4.DTL

  18. OK, Faye, now I really have to get a daikon. Flu and rainy days have kept me from visiting the shuk, but I plan for it to be sunny one day next week (hear me, Weatherman?) – and then I’ll look for daikon. I see why that article inspired you – it inspired me, too. I like your advice about getting to know the vegetable by cooking it in the plainest way, thanks!

  19. lovely way to prepare a turnip and what a great blog you have :-)

  20. Thanks, Rebecca!

  21. Mimi, Tried out this turnips recipe this past weekend for Shabbas dinner, with chicken, etc. WONDERFUL! Probably the best turnips we ever ate! Thanks so much!

  22. Wow, thanks for letting me know, Julie!

  23. This is a vegetable I very rarely think about picking up. I’ve seen several turnip recipes around at the moment and this one looks so tasty! I need to get turnips into my life!

  24. Chuckle…yes, I hadn’t thought of turnips that way, but you’re right!

  25. I tried my first turnip last night, using your recipe. Very good!! I’ll be enjoying them again.

  26. April, thanks for letting me know! Yaay, turnips!

  27. We have fresh turnips from the neighbors, and I was unsure how to cook them. I ate them often as a child, but my mother boiled them. That seems like a “winter” method. My husband is preparing them for cooking right now. Can’t wait to try them!

  28. I hope you like turnips cooked this way, Nan. Let me know in these comments, please!

  29. […] Glazed Turnips ~ Israeli Kitchen […]

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