Mid-February is a tough time for produce, even in plentiful Middle Georgia. When I e-mailed Bobby from Babe & Sage Farms about what he had in abundance, he said that he had plenty of Gold Ball turnips.
Turnips? What was I going to do with turnips?
Bobby assured me that turnips are actually delicious and advised me to treat them like I would treat Yukon Gold potatoes, another root vegetable full of starchy goodness. Turnips, however, have a much lower glycemic index than potatoes, meaning they have fewer carbohydrates and more fiber.
I knew that I’d rely on my stand-by for vegetables: roasting them at a high temperature. For a tasty twist, I roasted them in a small amount of bacon fat, which added a salty and rich flavor to this reliable winter vegetable.
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I was so pleasantly surprised when Alex and I sat down to eat our dinner that I felt badly for misjudging turnips. My only prior knowledge of them was a smelly memory of boiled turnips, or perhaps small, overcooked morsels nestled in a mess of turnip greens.
I highly recommend trying them out as a potato replacement, particularly if you can purchase them from a local farmer.
Alex and Eleta Morrison live in Macon and write a food blog, Bungalow Kitchen. Visit their blog at bungalowkitchen.wordpress.com or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BUNGALOW KITCHEN RECIPE
Pan-Seared Chicken with Turnip, Bacon and Rosemary Hash
2 6- to 8-ounce chicken breasts
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
4-6 medium-sized turnips
3 slices of bacon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the stems and the tips of the turnips, then peel them with a vegetable peeler or a knife. Chop them into dice-sized cubes.
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, then remove the bacon slices and place them on a paper towel. Crumble the bacon strips with your hands and set aside.
Turn the heat to low, then add the turnip pieces and rosemary and toss them in the bacon fat. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then add the turnips and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
While the turnips are roasting, Heat the butter in a large, oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel, then sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Cook the chicken breasts for about 4 minutes on each side, then place the pan in the oven and allow the chicken to cook for about 8-10 more minutes. The chicken and turnips should be done about the same time.
To plate the dish, evenly divide the turnips between two plates, then top each hash with crumbled bacon and a chicken breast. Serve with a simple green salad.