Turnip, the vegetable I usually won’t buy unless I’m making couscous and I’ll make sure somebody else eats it but not me..
My mother is found of all sorts of turnips growing in Morocco, which appear in autumn. Every time she would cook it, it would mean that I have to look for something else to eat.
Sorts of turnips widely available in Morocco (photo taken there). The orange is sweeter than the purple
Then I woke up one day with a new love for turnips. I looked for them in the Saturday’s farmer’s market in Neustadt. Not deceptive at all, they had 2 varieties at least: the purple and the orange turnips.
Back home (with some lamb shanks as well), I made myself a nice Moroccan stew of turnip and lamb, usually cooked Kadra-style, with a limited list of spices.
Like my mother said, cooking a slightly bitter variety of turnip with a sweeter variety makes the dish deadly delicious. Now how come I have lost all these years thinking it was bad?
Serves 2 -4
Prep: 10 min- cooking: 90 min
2 lamb shanks or any tender cut with bones
About 4 turnips
1 medium-size onion, chopped
A handful of coriander in a bouquet + 2 tbsps chopped coriander
Stock (vegetable or meat) to cover the ingredients
1 tbsp of olive oil + 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1/4 tsp of turmeric
A pinch of saffron threads (soaked in 2 tbsp of hot water for 10 min)
1 tbsp of grated ginger or (1 tsp if ground)
1 tsp of smen (optional)
Salt to taste
1 tsp of pepper(my mother mixes white and black)
Peel and slice the turnip into wedges or quarters.
On medium heat, place a pot or a tagine with about a cup of water. Add in all the ingredients except the turnips and the chopped coriander. Cover and let the meat infuse with spices for about 10 min. Stir a couple of times. C
Cover the meat with water and seal/close the pot or pressure cooker and cook until the meat is tender and done.
Add the turnips and chopped coriander. Cover again. If the pot needs more water, add a little bit. You do not want to have apool either because we need a sort of thick reduced sauce at the end.
After about 20 min. check if turnips are cooked through and that the sauce has been nicely reduced. The fresher they are the less time they need to cook.
Serve hot with a good bread that will allow you to suck the yummy sauce while eating. This is not a dish for a fork and a knife!
Note: A very old recipe of kadra with turnips call for chickpeas. Presoaked chickpeas are added along with the meat to cook to tenderness. I suggest you don’t use tinned chickpeas as they won’t give justice to this dish. The use of home-soaked chickpeas adds flavour and depth to the broth but also thicken it.
A large family-serving size of Kadra with turnips and chickpeas
Nada Kiffa is an Expert in Moroccan cooking and her recipes are coming from a lineage of Moroccan home and professional cooks.
Cooking classes and posted articles are inspired by her family life in Morocco and elsewhere. You will learn what makes a dish Moroccan before learning how to execute it. You will also learn how to work around recipes and cut corners without missing on the flavour.
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