I love vegetables, but I prefer green leafy ones above all. Next in my veggie line-up would be beans then peas, and I guess root vegetables would be third – not last, because that would imply I didn’t like them. Being a savoury rather than sweet person I’m not that keen on cooked carrots or parsnips, too sweet, and potatoes are ok, but I’m not mad about chips like some people are, and turnips, well, I have to be in the mood. Do onions and garlic count as roots? I love both of them and they to me belong with lovely green leafy salads.
However, big however, one root vegetable I really, really loves is swede which is also called yellow turnip, Swedish or Russian turnip and in USA it’s a rutabaga. Swede is something I’ve eaten since childhood, either cut into cubes and boiled (school dinners) or boiled then mashed with plenty of butter and lots of pepper. My family don’t mind swede but they don’t like it as much as I do so we don’t often have it because they are usually so big. I didn’t realise that in food history terms, swedes in Britain are fairly recent – they were probably only here by the end of the eighteenth century. They are particularly useful as a human and also as an animal feed. They apparently contain a lot of Vitamin C – but I wonder if that disappears as they are cooked?
We had a roast dinner the other day and while we were out buying what we needed I found a small swede, just enough for us – usually I buy something which is too big which only I eat, and then I struggle not to waste it. We all had some – I had more, but there was still a bowl of mashed swede left at the end of the meal. I was reluctant to throw it away but not sure what to do with it. The next day I was making chicken soup from the leftover roast dinner, and had an inspiration to try making swede dumplings to go in the soup! I couldn’t find a dumpling recipe using swede, but came across one for cooked mashed potato which was very simple. I rubbed flour into the swede then made a dough with a beaten egg. I think my egg was too big or the amount of swede was too small because it was a bit sticky, so I added more flour. Thinking they might be a bit stodgy, I made them quite small. I was very pleased, they were good – still a bit stodgy – less egg next time.
I was left with the dumpling dough because there were only two of us eating soup so I didn’t need lots of dumplings. I was baking something, and had an inspiration, I added ground allspice, clove and black pepper and made the swede dough into a round bun shape and baked it. It took quite a while because of course it was very dense, but it was very nice, especially with cheese. So next time I want swede I know I can have it and what’s left can be used to make something rather delicious!
My featured image is of swede and rosemary soup – something else I invented once, many moons ago!