Stuffed Turnips or How to make a pudding in a turnep root

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I was talking about turnips with @glen_malley (as one does) and after the “turnips are not Rutabaga” comments decided to blog about it because I like clearing up confusion.

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One small rutabaga, and two large turnips to clear up confusion.

Over at Wikipedia says that rutabaga (Brassica napobrassicais a cross between a turnip (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa and cabbage (Brassica oleracea), and is commonly called ‘turnip’ to confuse people. Rutabaga has a stronger, sharp flavour, and the flesh is very hard, where turnip flavour is mild, and the flesh is softer.

Sappho, a poet from the 7th century BC, calls one of her lovers Gongýla, “turnip”.

I implore you, Turnip,
Show yourself to me!
Pick up your harp one more time
While the wings of longing hover around you.

Rutabaga, not so romantic. I looked it up.

The recipe I am doing likes the softness and blandness of the turnip. If you were to substitute an apple for the turnip it would dissolve into apple-squish before the pudding was cooked since the turnips are simmered.

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How to make a Pudding in a Turnep root. Take your Turnep root, and wash it fair in warm water, and scrape it faire and make it hollow as you doo a Carret roote, and make your stuffe of grated bread, and Apples chopt fine, then take Corance, and hard Egs, and season it with Sugar Sinamon, and Ginger, and yolks of hard egs and so temper your stuffe, and put it into the Turnep, then take faire water, and set it on the fire, and let it boyle or ever you put in your Turneps, then put in a good peece of sweet Butter, and Claret Wine, and a little Vinagre, and Rosemarye, and whole Mace, Sugar, and Corance, and Dates quartered, and when they are boyled inough, then willl they be tender, then serve it in. A.W. A Book of Cookrye (1591)

Ingredients:

* 4 turnips, pealed
Stuffing:
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs
* 1 apple, grated
* 1 tbsp currants
*  yolks from 2 hard boiled eggs
* 2 tbsp sugar
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
Broth:
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup red wine
* 1 tsp rosemary needles
* 1 flake mace
* 1 tbsp sugar
* 1 tbsp currants
* 2 tbsp dates, quartered
* 1 tbsp grape vinegar

Directions

  1. Carve out an egg sized hole in your turnips removing about 1/4 cup of flesh. I used a grapefruit spoon but a Mellon baller or knife will work. If you slip and pierce the flesh a little don’t worry too much but try not to make any of the turnip-bowl walls too thin.
  2. Mix stuffing ingredients together with hand. Tightly stuff the stuffing into each turnip bowl.
  3. Fill a sauce pan half way with water. Bring water to a boil. Turn pot down to low to simmer  and add butter, wine, rosemary, mace, sugar, currants, and dates, then stir.
  4. Gently place the turnips stuffing side up in pot, simmering liquid should cover them. Cover pot with lid and simmer the puddings for 1 hour.
  5. Serve hot or cold.

Optional: You could make a sauce out of the cooking liquid by straining and adding more sugar but that isn’t mentioned in the original recipe.

Armoured Food

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I found three recipes with the names in common: armored hen, armored capon, and armored turnip. Only the armoured capon is dressed to look like it is wearing armor, which is really fun.

The turnips are layered with cheese and spices, somewhat like a “paleo diet” lasagna. Remember to use the smaller “Brassica rapa subsp. rapa” not the larger rutabaga “Brassica napobrassica”.

The armoured hen is a spit roast, where you make a crust on the outside of the roasted meat by sprinkling it with flour. The translation from Spanish by Robin Carroll-Mann can add to confusion if you are unfamiliar with this technique. “And when it is nearly half-roasted, baste it with bacon.” might imply that the spitted and half cooked hen is wrapped with strips of bacon before the flour crust is applied. This would result in an over cooked hen, or rubbery undercooked bacon. Putting a French translation “Fais rôtir une belle poule et, près de la mi-cuisson, frotte-la avec du lard.” into google translate gets “Do a nice roast chicken and nearly halfway through cooking , rub it with bacon.” This bacon fat addition, along with egg yolks, would allow the flour to stick to the less fatty hen. Translating with google from the original Catalan didn’t translate well.

Armored Capon
(Spain, 1520 – Robin Carroll-Mann, trans.)
Bard a capon, and roast it; and when it is half-roasted remove the barding fat. And take egg yolks beaten with parsley and sugar, and let them be very well-beaten, and put these eggs all over the capon; and take pine nuts and peeled almonds, and while you put on the egg yolks, put on the pine nuts and almonds bit by bit in such a way that they will adhere to the sauce. And then put the barding fat back on over the eggs and the capon. And it shall be upon the fire until it is completely roasted. Libre del Coch

Ingredients
* 1 capon (~6lbs)
* 6 strips of bacon
* 4 egg yolks
* 1 cup whole almonds, blanched
* 3/4 cup pine nuts

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cover the capon with the strips of bacon. Roast capon for 45 minutes (while bacon is still rubbery, not crispy), then remove from heat.
3. Remove the bacon strips and set aside. Working from one end of the bird to the other, drop a little bit of egg yolk on the bird, smooth it out and use it to glue on almonds and pine nuts in neat rows, with the sides of the almonds touching and the pine nuts filling the voids near the points of the almonds. Place bacon stips back over the capon and return bird to oven. Roast for an additional hour or until it reaches 165°, and the limbs twist easily from the body.
4. Serve capon whole to guests, so they can enjoy the whole affect.

Armored Hen
(Spain, 1520 – Robin Carroll-Mann, trans.)
33. Armored Hen. Roast a good hen. And when it is nearly half-roasted, baste it with bacon. Then take well-beaten egg yolks, then with a spoon or with the tip of a large wooden spoon rub the hen with these yolks, little by little. And then sprinkle wheat flour well-sifted with ground salt over the eggs, turning the hen constantly and swiftly; and the crust is worth more than the hen. Libre del Coch

Ingredients
* 1 whole chicken, (~5lbs)
* 1/2 cup bacon fat
* 2 egg yolks, beaten with a fork
* 1 cup flour
* 2 tsp salt

Directions
1. Mix flour and salt together.
2. Build up a cooking fire, and tie your hen to a spit using food safe twine.
3. Slowly roast the hen, turning often, until it starts to sweat all over and juices start to run (approximately 30 minutes).
4. Baste the bird with the bacon fat all over. It will drip off quickly but also will add flavour. Then baste the bird with the egg yolks, evenly coating all over. Quickly, before the egg dries fully, start sprinkling flour over bird. The moisture from the bird, fat and eggs should make the flour adhere, although there will be loss. Keep sprinkling flour on bird, over and over, as your turn the spit, until all the moisture is absorbed and the flour has formed a crust of sorts. Continue to roast bird turning often, until flour is golden, and until it reaches 165°, and the limbs twist easily from the body.
5. Removed from spit to serve.

Armored Turnips
(Italian, 1421)
Cut up turnips that have been either boiled or cooked under the ashes. Likewise do the same with rich cheese, not too ripe. These should be smaller morsels than the turnips, though. In a pan greased with butter or liquamen, make a layer of cheese first, then a layer of turnips, and so on, all the while pouring in spice and some butter, from time to time. This dish is quickly cooked and should be eaten quickly, too. Platina, Book 8

Ingredients
* 6 turnips, boiled, sliced into 1 cm thick rounds
* 8 oz gouda, sliced into pieces half as thick as the turnips, or smaller
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
* 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/4 tsp mace, ground
* 1/4 tsp cloves, ground
* 3 tbsp butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix spices together. Butter a baking dish. Lay down a loose layer of cheese, then a layer of turnips, sprinkle some of the spice mix on top of the turnips. Repeat until you run out of cheese and turnips.
  3. Sprinkle any leftover butter and spices on top of the layers.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the top of the turnip pie is browning.