Turnip and Hazelnut Gratin
- 3 lbs turnip (about 8 medium-large guys)
- 5 strips of bacon
- 2 cups of cream *
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 2 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 tsp dried savoury
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- salt and pepper to taste **
Peel the turnips and let them sit in a bowl of icy water as you go about your business. This will slow some of the discoloration. And also, they look so lovely and creamy white bobbing away in there. I mean, LOOK AT THAT! How can you hate turnips when you’ve seen them looking so precious?
In a non-stick pan please fry the bacon until it’s nicely browned. As it cooks away you can get started on the turnips cutting, which takes a while. When the bacon is cooked take it off the heat so it can cool slightly.
And on to the turnip cutting. Quarter each turnip and slice the chunks thinly (no more than 1/8 inch) going across.
So I feel compelled to tell you: this takes a while. You think that it won’t, after all it’s only 8 turnips, but it does. It takes a long while. It’s boring. Your hand starts to hurt. And then you’ll turn on me, decide that I’m full of B.S. anyway, and my recipes are stupid, and from now on you’re only going to check the site for the cocktails and beer reviews. You’ll get to the point where you start asking yourself why you even wanted to make some stupid turnip dish in the first place, nobody likes turnips except for you, and maybe if you just stop now then you can boil them or something and does it really matter because you’ve already eaten half the bacon, and the hazelnuts weren’t THAT expensive……
I know. It’s okay. Just breathe through the turnip slicing, soon it will all be over with.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Usually you see the preheat warning at the start of a recipe, I know, but what’s the point in using up all that energy when you’ve got 20 minutes of prep work ahead of you? Silly turnips. So now that that’s out of the way, let’s carry on.
I am aware that you can buy your hazelnuts already chopped, and I’m really not a purist, it’s just that the whole nuts were on sale…..so, if you have whole nuts, give them a pulse in the food processor until they’re roughly chopped. Or put them in a bag and smash them with a rolling pin, but try not to get too overzealous when you’re doing it. I know that the holidays are stressful, but smashing out hazelnut butter is not going to make Dear Uncle Fred any less of a jackass.
Alright, so by now the bacon is cooled, the turnips are sliced, and you’re feeling better about things. Maybe not enough that you trust me or want to make friends again, but enough that you’re willing to renew your enthusiasm about turnips and gratin. And really, that’s all that I can ask.
Slide the bacon (with drippings, please) onto the turnips and give them a toss to coat. You can season it now, or later, or really whenever you want.
In a medium bowl combine the cream, stock and spices. This is killing me, it really is. I’m usually a fairly healthy cook for our daily meals and we eat a lot of salad. But chanting, “I like salad. I eat salad. Salad is good.” does not negate the fact that there are 2 cups of cream in here. And that I used cream again just yesterday to make some White Chocolate Pots de Creme with Candied Orange. Ah, well. It’s the holidays……
Scoop the turnips into a 9×13 casserole dish (no need to grease it) and pour the creaminess over top.
Mix together the bread crumbs with the hazelnuts and sprinkle this overtop.
Bake in your preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and the top is golden brown.
Turnip and Hazelnut Gratin is a great way to serve turnips on the side of your holiday turkey, but it would also be fantastic to go with a Sunday roast or prime rib….just saying…..