turnipotato au gratin

I constantly try to find new ways to create low carbohydrate dishes using symbiotic combinations of ingredients that taste better in composition than they do when used alone in more traditional forms. One such ingredient is the turnip, which only a few dire individuals would willingly eat regularly without incentive. Yet, by making it the central theme of a dish like potatoes au gratin, it becomes transformed into a very tasty side dish. The recipe below adds a little potato, for taste and texture at the cost of a few carbs; it may be omitted, if desired.

  • 1 large turnip, diced
  • 1 small potato, diced (optional)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted <butter>
  • 3 tbsp gravy flour
  • 1½ cups fat-free half-and-half cream
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¾ cup 2% milkfat sharp cheddar, grated
  • ½ cup Asiago cheese, grated
  • 1 lower G. I. tortilla, crumbled

Peel the potato and turnip and dice. Boil the two together a few minutes until blanched, but not mushy. Drain and reserve.

Combine flour and <butter> in a saucepan over low heat until <butter> melts and a white roux is made. Add cream, pepper, and nutmeg and mix ingredients together. Bring the heat up to the simmer point and maintain it here until the flour thickens. Slowly add the cheddar, stirring constantly, until incorporated. Add the Asiago and stir again.

Remove this mixture to a greased baking dish. Dice the tortilla and crumble it in a blender. Sprinkle over the turnip-cheese mixture and bake, uncovered, at 350° F for 20 minutes. Turn up the heat to 450° for a few minutes until the top browns a little. Remove from the heat and serve in wedges on plates.

Makes 4 servings.

Apple-Turnip Surprise ♯

Turnips are nutritious, low in carbohydrates, and can offer an unexpected burst of flavor to almost any dish. Raw, a turnip has a bite like a radish, but is more like a potato when cooked. They are versatile: they can be eaten raw, sautéed, grilled, blanched, and roasted. Because they absorb the flavors of the foods they are cooked with, they very well compliment many a soup, casserole, stew, or side dish. They’re sort of like the reliable old carrot. I have included in these pages several recipes in which turnips play a starring role in savory dishes.

In developing the dish presented here, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they can also costar in sweeter dishes, such as those that are sometimes desired to accompany ham or pork. Its role here is to provide the savory base for what otherwise might be a little too sweet for a side dish. The result is delicious and reasonably quick and easy to prepare.

  • 1 apple, peeled and sliced into ½” pieces
  • 2 small turnips, sliced into ½” pieces
  • 4 oz unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp <sugar>
  • 1 tsp <brown sugar>*

Slice the turnips and boil until almost soft. Add the sliced apple and boil until both are about the same in softness. Drain, add the other ingredients, stir to mix well, and restore the heat to serving temperature. Spoon onto plates alongside the main course.

Makes 6 side portions.