Sunday, May 29, 2011

cumin scented turnips with chickpeas and swiss chard

So far our CSA is forcing me to think outside my normal vegetable box, and I'm loving it. This week we received turnips, which I think I've only had roasted. We also got a lovely bunch of Swiss chard and garlic scapes. I wanted to try something different with several of my CSA surprises, and I came up with a braised turnip dish with chickpeas and chard.

I'm making lots of notes in the recipe, in case you want to adapt it to what you have on hand. I'm thinking any root vegetable would work-- I bet sweet potatoes would be fantastic, but I always think sweet potatoes would be fantastic, so keep that in mind.

Cumin Scented Turnips with Chickpeas and Swiss Chard
Serves 4-6

4 whole turnips, peeled and chopped (approximately 4 cups)
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or other beans, or leave them out and have this as more of a side)
1 large bunch of Swiss chard, chopped (since I don't have a food scale I don't know how much it was-- maybe a pound? it was a lot of chard)
3 garlic scapes, minced (or 1-2 T minced garlic)
1 onion, chopped
2 T fresh ginger, minced
2 t cumin
1/3 cup raisins (I used 1/3 cup and we wanted more-- try 1/2 cup)
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Put olive oil in a large straight sided skillet over medium heat.
Add the ginger, garlic scapes, and onion; sautee 30 seconds, just enough to coat everything with oil.
Add turnips and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil.
Sprinkle vegetables with salt, and cover the pan. Simmer until turnips are tender, 5-10 minutes.
Uncover the pan and raise the heat to cook off any remaining liquid.
Stir in cumin, chickpeas, and raisins. Stir in chard; cover again until chard shrinks and is tender.
Season to taste with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Serve with whole wheat couscous.

Edwin and I were pleasantly surprised by this dish. I really didn't know what to expect from the turnips, since I usually eat them roasted with lots of other root vegetables. I hadn't ever spent much time thinking about the turnip, but my new friend has a lovely earthy and slightly sweet flavor. The texture was similar to a sweet potato, and it paired nicely with the chickpeas (earthy) and chard (slightly sweet).
I briefly considered adding a can of diced tomatoes to the pan, and I think I'll do that next time. EDW and I agreed that tomatoes would have added a nice acidity to the meal, and I like a little liquid with my couscous. We added diced cherry tomatoes to our leftovers when we reheated them in the microwave, and we both thought they were an improvement.
Overall, we were really delighted by this, and we give it a solid B. If we upped the raisins and added tomatoes I bet it'd be a B+.

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