Bonjour à toutes et à tous!

Today, we’re diving into a humble yet delightful root vegetable that holds a special place in French cuisine – the turnip! Ah, c’est si bon!

Turnip Tales: Unearthing a French Culinary Gem

Before we explore its culinary wonders, let’s dig into the horticultural backstory. Navets are the french world for turnips. The French have cultivated turnips for centuries in the beautiful fields of France. These versatile veggies thrive in the country’s temperate climate, with regions like Brittany and Normandy boasting some of the most succulent and flavorful turnips.

A Glimpse into History

Turnips have an intriguing history in France. They have been cherished for centuries, dating back to medieval times. In fact, they were a dietary staple in the Middle Ages, appreciated for their hardiness and availability. Over the years, turnips evolved from a peasant’s fare into a celebrated ingredient in French cuisine.

French Flair in the Kitchen

Now, let’s talk about how these versatile vegetables are used in French cooking. Traditional French cooking uses turnips in various forms. One popular way is “Pot-au-Feu,” a traditional French beef stew, where turnips contribute a unique earthy flavor. They also make excellent purees, adding a touch of sweetness to any dish.

Today, we have a recipe for the classic potage aux navets (turnip soup). I particularly like the mellowness of white turnips for this dish, but purple turnips (peeled, bien sûr) work equally well. Turnip soup is a quick, economical, and satisfying way to start an autumn repas.

In the north of France, “Navets à la Flamande” is a beloved classic. It’s a delightful dish where turnips are braised in butter and sugar, creating a caramelized treat. And don’t forget about “Navarin d’Agneau,” a lamb stew where turnips add a pleasant crunch and mild flavor, perfectly balancing the dish.

Turnips have an uncanny ability to absorb the flavors of other ingredients in a dish. Whether roasted, sautéed, or grated raw into a fresh salad, they bring a unique, slightly peppery note to your culinary creations.

Enjoy autumn’s root veggies

In the world of French cuisine, turnips may be humble, but their potential is grand. From history to horticulture and their delightful role in French recipes, these root veggies certainly shine brightly in the culinary spotlight. So, next time you’re at the market, why not grab some turnips and embark on a French culinary adventure? You’ll soon discover why they’re cherished throughout France and around the world. N’est-ce pas? Embrace the turnip’s versatility and savor its delicious charm. Bon appétit!


A bientôt! Et bonne cuisine!

Potage aux navets blancs

Turnip soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 4 medium turnips
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 4 ½ cups milk
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions
 

  • Wash and peel the turnips and potatoes.
  • Dice the vegetables into cubes.
  • Put the water in a large stock pot. Add a good pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
  • Add the diced turnips and potatoes.
  • Add the milk.
  • Cook over medium low heat (do not allow to boil) for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  • Use an immersion blender to blend the soup.
  • Taste and add salt or pepper as needed.

Notes

Some versions of the classic potage aux navets also add a bit of goat cheese just before blending.
While not traditional, I particularly like adding a few cloves of roasted garlic to the cooking vegetables and then blending it all together with the immersion blender.