A tasty purée of root vegetables, either purple-topped turnips or, as pictured here, the lovely sunny-fleshed rutabagas. A favorite Thanksgiving vegetable recipe from my Canadian family.
In some families, it’s a fact of life that it’s risky to buck tradition at Thanksgiving. Every year, it’s Grandma’s same cornbread stuffing and Cousin Isabelle’s favorite sweet potatoes.
Here, the requisite vegetable has been my Auntie Gloria’s Squash Puff. Then I learned that she and my Canadian family have supplanted squash with turnip.
Both are fall vegetables. Both versions are mashed. But somehow a squash puff and a turnip puff are entirely different. And since there’s no choosing between the two, now both are essential!
Turnip pairs well with roast beef and turkey both. So if your Thanksgiving menu is already cast in the irons of family custom, consider adding a Turnip Puff to the less rule-ruled Christmas meal.
Wanna know something funny? After publishing this recipe, I learned that Canadian supermarkets label what I call "rutabagas" turnips. So my Canadian family actually makes this Thanksgiving casserole with rutabagas, not purple-topped turnips. Ha!
The good news is that I make this dish with both and both are excellent. If I were to prefer one, it's the Rutabaga Puff, if only for its sunny yellow color and slightly sweeter flavor. But truly, you'll not go wrong with either.
TURNIP PUFF or RUTABAGA PUFF
Time-to-table: 75 minutes
Makes 4 cups
- 3 pounds purple-topped turnips (about 6 large) or rutabagas (about 1 large)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 cup panko or dry bread crumbs (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
Peel the turnips or rutabagas and cut into roughly equal-size quarters. Cook in boiling salted water until soft. (Stop here and refrigerate if preparing a day before.)
Mash the turnips or rutabagas in a large bowl with a mixer. Add the eggs, butter, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg and combine well. Transfer to a buttered casserole dish.
Combine the crumbs and butter and sprinkle evenly on top. (Stop here and refrigerate if preparing a few hours before.)
Bake at 375F/190C until lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes if starting from room temperature, about 50 minutes if starting from the refrigerator.
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