Exhibition, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee, 17-30 March 2017. More images here.
Continuing our series on the culinary delights of that most wonderful of plant families, the cabbages.
Paula Pongrac sends this recipe from Prekmurje, Slovenia – Slaughtered turnips. And just below is a photo from the region by Erik Kavaš.
“No, I am not suggesting taking the biggest knife you have and attack the turnip! Rather I want to tell you about another delicious way to prepare turnip (especially in winter time as it is a real winter-warmer) and of when this dish was typically consumed in Prekmurje, eastern part of Slovenia.
“The name may suggest that Slaughtered Turnip (“Bujta repa” in the Slovenian dialect of Prekmurje) was, and of course still is, a dish prepared when slaughter takes place (typically of pigs). It is essentially a stew with pork, fermented turnips and millet grain, but believe me, this is an experience to remember.
“Unfortunately, it is not easy to get hold of fermented turnips outside Slovenia, but there are some relatively easy recipes for home-fermentation of vegetables available on-line (search term “turnip kraut” yields good results, although the term is clearly wrong as it means “turnip cabbage”) or just decide on visiting Slovenia and have a taste.
“In case you get lucky and you get hold of all the ingredients, this is how you make Slaughtered Turnip.”
1 kg fermented turnip (grated), sometimes referred to as turnip kraut
1 kg pork bones with meat
150 g millet grain (proso millet)
1-2 tablespoons of oil
1-2 tablespoons of flour
3 garlic cloves
Red sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
How to make it:
Place the fermented turnip into a big pot with pieces of meat, add some ground and whole black peppers and bay leaves, and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 – 60 minutes until turnip is tender and the meat is almost done. Then add washed millet grain and some extra water and cook until the millet is no longer crunchy.
For the roux, fry the sliced onion and garlic in oil until onion and garlic turn golden. Add the flour and stir for few seconds, then add some water, bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add red paprika and extra water if needed to keep the roux smooth.
Just before finishing the turnip-meat-millet mixture, add the roux and bring everything to boil. Add salt to taste and serve with blood sausage or other meat, and bread.
For best experience, Slaughtered Turnip should be reheated at least twice.
Paula Pongrac, from Slovenia, is working at the James Hutton Institute in 2016/17.
The slaughtered turnip in the photograph was prepared for this article by family Barbarič from Prekmurje. With thanks.
Images of the turnip dish supplied by Zoran Kuzma.
Images of ‘Mill on river Mura in Prekmurje’ and ‘Field of gladiols in Prekmurje’ supplied by photographer Erik Kavaš.
The millet used in the recipe is dehulled proso millet, known as ‘proso groats’. Dehulling takes the protective covering off the grain to make it more edible in stews (as pearl barley).
Links on this site
Link to Paula’s other turnip recipe: Turnip strudel – a Croatian version
Turnip strudel is a typical strudel in the Međimurje County in northern Croatia …. writes Paula Pongrac …. where my parents are from. Also, very popular are cabbage and pumpkin strudels.
All the ingredients (turnips and walnuts, or cabbage and pumpkins) were available even in times of scarcity and were typically made when there were not enough apples or cottage cheese (these two versions of strudels are more common in Slovenia and Austria).
Here is how you make a turnip strudel:
Ingredients (are not to measure so the strudel tastes different every time):
Peel and grate one large turnip. Place it in a bowl with salted water and bring to boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drain it so you get rid of all the water. (When cooled you can use hands to squeeze it). You can stop at this stage and freeze it for later.
Otherwise or when defrosted, put some oil in the pan and place the drained turnip onto it, add sugar and ground walnuts and fry for some time, mixing frequently. Make sure, the walnuts and sugar are evenly mixed with the turnip. Cool the filling down.
Spread Filo pastry (two or three layers), sprinkle it with some oil and add the turnip-walnut filling. Roll it and place into buttered oven-proof pan. Repeat until you run out of Filo pastry layers and the filling. Spread sour cream over the Filo pastry and bake it until golden on the outside.
Cool the strudel down and enjoy.
Recipe by Paula Pongrac
Paula’s captions for the photographs above (top left clockwise): ‘walnut trees are very common’; ‘…. or just for a pet’; ‘fruit trees make the area colourful and pretty’; manmade streams for field drainage’.
Painted in the Living Field Garden on 6 October 2016, by Jean Duncan.
Jean captures that solidity of the red-brown tuber, the arching leaf-stems and the straggle and mush of leaf-blades, grey-green and splattered with soil.
It’s the grey-green colour of the leaves and the yellow tinge to the cut tuber that distinguish the neep, swede or swedish turnip from the other turnip. The same Brassica napus as the oilseed rape it is, but a variety that puts its energy into the tuber and not into oily seeds.
This and the other turnip Brassica rapa – the one with hairier, bright green leaves and white flesh – were one of the main supports to agricultural improvement in the 1700s, a living food for people and animals through much of the winter.
Swedes and other fodder crops of the cabbage family are still grown in gardens and fields, but not so much as they used to be. Stockfeed comes in tubs, made of soya, from the Americas.
Today the yellow mash of the neep goes with haggis and tatties to make the burns supper, and the tuber is sometimes still carved on the last day of October, the eve of All Hallows, into a lantern.
But those who know still value neeps as a prime vegetable, healthy and nutritious with a fine taste – anytime.
More on neeps
Ingredients of the Burns’ Supper – SoSCOtchBOnnet
Part of the Brassica complex – its minor role as a weed and feral plant
Festivities around the November cross-quarter day – XQ4