Turnip, Bacon and Aspall Cyder Gratin
Since moving to Suffolk I became rather partial to a few things; one of them is the Aspall Cyder, also Dingley Dell Bacon, and strangely I fell head over heels in love with fresh horseradish and turnips… yes, you do read it correctly, turnips! I actually didn’t have a choice as one of our regular visitors often brings us Suffolk turnips… plenty of turnips too. It’s a well-known fact that the turnip is at the heart of the agricultural revolution, so I felt obliged to get up close and personal with the humble root vegetable.
At first I looked at them thinking oh gosh, what can I do with these boys. Let’s face it - a turnip is not the most exciting ingredient. Well then we learned that it can and will actually become rather delicious if used and cooked with a few of my favourite foodie ingredients. Mixing horseradish, Aspall Cyder, bacon, cream and turnips together with a bit of seasoning and baking it in the oven makes a rather delicious side dish. It’s rather rich, so serving and enjoying it in small quantities is advisable.
Horseradish is a perennial plant from the brassicaceae family, which includes mustard, wasabi, turnips and cabbages. Horseradish grows wild around the British Isles and if you ever make the mistake of planting it in your garden then you should be prepared to live with the consequences as it does spread, and let’s just say it becomes lively and gets everywhere…
The root itself has no aroma, however once cut or grated the enzyme sinigryn develops and produces allyl isothiocyanate, also known as mustard oil, which irritates human sinuses and eyes. I think I might be slightly addicted to horseradish as I simply cannot get enough of it, especially freshly grated raw over pan-seared mackerel. Delicious!!
A big thank you to Mr.Notcut for dropping by this load of freshly dug horseradish (yes, it comes from his garden!!). We are very privileged to have such food loving customers that want to participate in our passion for food and have a little bit of fun with us along the way. Here at the British Larder we have a bartering system where customers can bring a bit of their glut and proudly produced items such as this wonderful horseradish. We write on the black board what we require, and hey presto, the customers and friends of the British Larder drop it in for us to create delicious dishes with.
- 2kg turnips, peeled
- 5 banana Shallots, finely sliced
- 1tbs unsalted butter
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 100g smoked bacon
- 300ml cider
- 400ml white chicken or vegetable stock
- 200ml double cream
- 50g freshly grated horseradish
- 50g wholegrain mustard
- 50g grated Parmesan cheese
Peel the turnips and slice them 3/4mm thick.
Slice the bacon into thin slices, and sauté until crispy, remove from the pan and set aside.
Return the same pan to the heat, melt the butter and sauté the finely sliced shallots with seasoning until golden. Deglaze the pan with the cider, add the horseradish and mustard; cook until the cider thickens. Add the stock and cook until the stock is reduced by half. Add the cream, bring the sauce back to the boil, taste and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and half the crispy bacon. Remove from the heat.
Mix the sliced turnips with the mixture and layer the turnips in a baking dish, pour over the creamy mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 25 – 30 minutes, garnish with the crispy bacon, finely shredded fresh parsley and golden toasted sour dough breadcrumbs, before serving finely grated fresh raw horseradish over the hot gratin to serve.
Makes 8 small dishes, serving 2 people as a side.