Thursday, January 25, 2007

Swede

Jo asked what to do with swede, and The Phantom suggested boiling it and mashing it, possibly with carrots but certainly with lots of butter and pepper. Add haggis and whisky, and you have a supper for tonight, Burns Night. "I conclude that otherwise swede is a vegetable to be avoided," Jane Grigson says.

Alastair Little and Richard Whittington in Keep It Simple -- a book that little more than 10 years ago was the essential tool for a fashionable dinner party, but that is now out of print -- give a recipe for turnip, swede and carrot puree. You boil equal quantities of the vegetables with a chopped onion, and blitz them with butter, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. I should prefer to cook them in just a little water with some butter in a covered pan, checking regularly to see that they do not dry out -- the carrots particularly retain their colour and sweetness that way.

At the weekend, Nigel Slater recommended placing some paper over the vegetables that were sweating for a soup (scroll down for the soup recipe). I tried it yesterday. It seemed to me that the water evaporated just as quickly as it would have done with only the covering of the lid; but that perhaps the vegetables softened more efficiently. I shall need to experiment further.

2 comments:

Brian J Goggin said...

I know I'm a year late with this comment, but it's roots time of year again.

Heat your oven. Actually, I usually make this dish to accompany some sort of a roast or a baked ham, so the oven is on anyway.

Chop the skin off your swede, cut it into quarters (from top to bottom) and then cut the quarters into thin slices. Butter the inside of an ovenproof container and put the slices in it, building up layers; add nutmeg (or whatever you like) at such intervals as seem good to you. Then pour in enough cream to come just above the swede and bake the gratin for say one hour at 180C, perhaps less if your oven is at a higher temperature: the dish is quite forgiving. And it's quick to prepare and easy to cook.

The results have been enough to convert even the most passionate swede-hater.

Nicholas Clee said...

This looks good - a swede version of gratin dauphinois. Do you not need quite a lot of cream to drown the vegetable? If you had less than was necessary, could you compensate by covering the dish with foil?