Saturday was the last day of the Amherst Winter Farmers Market. I was happy to provide many of my loyal customers with lamb for their holiday meals in the coming week.
It was also the last chance to purchase the local veggies and apples. Although I am pretty tired of all the storage crops we have been eating this winter, it is still a few weeks from fresh asparagus. This winter I have cooked a lot of turnips. I am pretty much over them but I think I will bring them for Easter dinner at my sisters. I discovered this really great "Turnip Risotto" recipe in an old Mario Batali cookbook. It is a bit of work - lots of fine chopping the results are spectacular. I will include it at the bottom of this post in case you want to give it a try.
Here is the link to our Leyden Glen Lamb Recipe blog where I give you several ways to prepare a leg of lamb. (I'm sending you to the blogger site for recipes as there seems to be something funky going on with my uploading of type on our regular website.) New to the site are:
French Style Roasted Leg of Lamb
Anchovy, Garlic, Rosemary Roasted Leg of Lamb
The NY Times Wednesday Food Section featured a full page front cover article on leg of lamb for Easter with a recipe similar to my Anchovy based leg recipe. (FYI - this is a classic long-time method of cooking lamb and it is very delicious). See the interesting article here. Hope it helps our domestic sheep industry as American lamb was touted as far superior to imported lamb.
I know most of you don't live close enough to purchase a leg from our farm. Maybe you can find a local sheep farm to source your leg. I know your local sheep farmers will appreciate it!
from Mario Batali’s Simple Italian Food
There is no risotto in this recipe. The small pieces of turnip substitute for the traditional arborio rice. In the headnotes of the recipe, Mario says he discovered potato "risotto" at Jeremiah Towers' Stars restaurant in the late 80's. I think you could substitute potatoes or butternut squash for the turnips if you aren't a fan.
The hardest part about this recipe is the chopping. Mario suggests 1/8” dice but I’m not that skilled, nor do I have the patience. A 1/4” dice works just as well although you may need a little longer to cook the turnip. Don't let the turnip turn to mush.
Serves 8 as a side dish
6 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped into 1/4” dice
1 1/2 pounds turnip, chopped into 1/4” dice
2 cups hot chicken stock - preferably homemade
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onionand cook until softened and light brown - about 10 minutes. Add the turnips and cook 4 minutes, stirring, until opaque. Add 1 ladle of chicken stock and stir until the stock is absorbed. Continue addint stock a ladle at a time until the turnips are tender -- about 15 minutes. (This is the part that will vary depending on how small you chop your turnips.) Taste the neeps for doneness.
Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the butter and grated cheese. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
Even turnip haters won’t know what they are eating - it will be that good!