New Mexico Green Chile Turnip Casserole

Turnips are, as are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and most other members of the brassica family, better eaten raw than cooked (IMNTBH opinion). Yet they are diabetically and dietetically wonderful vegetables, full of nutrition and antioxidants—all that stuff you really need as you are growing into old age.

Having thus been encouraged to drive the turnip truck, rather than to fall off it, a choice of enlightenment over the ordinary, I became determined to creatively incorporate the brassica rapa (i.e., either mask or hide its flavor) in a dish that I could eat willingly. Being from New Mexico, where chile peppers are their number two cash crop (cotton is number one) and number one culinary ingredient, you may intuit what I chose to blend away the badness. See if you don’t agree the recipe below is one that is good enough for company.

  • 3 medium turnips, diced, boiled and mashed
  • 3 tsp butter
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup nonfat half-and-half
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ½ lb ham, diced
  • ½ cup mild green chile, canned, diced
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar, grated
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook and mash the turnips. Add the remainder of ingredients, mix, and place in a greased casserole pan. Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes. Let cool a bit before serving.

New Mexico Red Chile Turnip Casserole

You, too, can like turnips, especially if you like your food a little spicy and were encouraged by enjoying the green chile turnip casserole above. This recipe is only a little more intricate, but well worth the trouble.

  • 4 medium turnips, boiled and mashed
  • 1 lb soyrizo* (soy based chorizo)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ½ cup mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup Velveeta® brand cheese product, cubed
  • ½ cup fat-free half and half
  • 3 dried New Mexico red chile pods, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 large lower G. I. flour tortilla

Boil and mash the turnips; set aside. Sauté the soyrizo, garlic, onion, and mushrooms; add to the mashed turnips. Add cheese to the mixture and mix while everything is still hot. Stir until cheese is incorporated, microwaving as needed Tear up the chile pods, put them into a blender with the flour and half and half, and then blend on high for about a minute until the pods are well incorporated into the liquid. Add the pepper slurry to the other ingredients, mix well to blend. Grease a 9” glass casserole pan. Run the tortilla under water; then line the casserole with it, as if it were a crust. Pour the mixture into the casserole and evenly distribute the contents. Cook covered in 420°F oven for 30 minutes. Let it cool a little before serving.