Sauteed Yellow Turnips (Swede or Rutabaga)

Monday 4 May 2015

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I have always loved yellow turnips . . .  Swede (here in the UK) or Rutabaga (North America) as they are also called  They are the ones with the purple skin and the yellow flesh inside.  

They were always my favourite part of holiday dinners when I was growing up.  My mom used to mash them together with potatoes so that they were not really strong flavoured.  Over here it is called Tatties and Neeps. I love them in any way shape or form. 

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Believe it or not, turnips are one of those root vegetables that actually have an underlying sweetness which can be greatly enhanced when you cook them.  It's subtle for sure . . .  but I find the addition of a tiny bit of brown sugar, always brings out the natural sweetness even more and makes a big difference.  This recipe here today is my absolute favourite way to prepare them.  It's simple . . . it's quick and  . . . it's delicious!


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(Before Cooking)

When I lived in South Western Ontario, back in Canada, many moons ago, there was a Mennonite Restaurant and Bakery we used to go to every now and again in St Jacob's (Millbank).  It was called Anna Mae's and they had the most delicious menu, all homemade foods,  beautiful roast dinners, gorgeous pies, bread, etc.   They had the best way with turnips.  I used to LOVE their turnips and I researched how to do them and found out their secret and this is it.

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 (After Cooking)

They grate them and then they saute them quickly in a bit of butter.   They are not boiled. They are not mashed.  Normally it can take quite a while to boil turnips until they are ready to be mashed, especially the larger ones.  These go together lickety split, especially if you have a food processor to do all the grating.

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These are quite simply delicious.   There is no other word to describe them.  Buttery.   Slightly sweet.   Oh so tasty. I could sit down to a plate of these and nothing else, but they do make the most fantastic side dish with a roast dinner . . .  pork, beef or turkey or chicken.  Take your pick.   These simple old fashioned dishes are my favourite kinds of dishes.  They just never get old.

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*Sauteed Yellow Turnips*
(Also known as Swede or Rutabaga)
Serves 6 to 8

This is the mennonite way of cooking Turnips.   I first tasted it like this back in the 1990's when I ate at a Mennonite Restaurant in St Jacob's, Ontario, in Canada.   It was delicious.  I searched and searched for a recipe, but couldn't find one.   I experimented and this is what I came up with which is very close to the way theirs tasted. I've been doing my swede this way ever since.  Much better than just boiled. 

1 large rutabaga/swede, peeled and grated
(or two small to medium ones.  You will need about 5 to 6 cups grated swede)
5 TBS butter
salt and black pepper to taste
1 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed 
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Melt the butter in a large skillet.   Add the rutabaga/swede and saute over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until they are soft and turn a deep yellow in colour.  Stir in the brown sugar and season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Serve hot.  Delicious!


  1. If you like rutabaga Monique, you will quite simply adore this side dish!


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