When my dad used to go out of town it meant eating tuna casserole (which I LUVED) or this awesome faux-souffle my mom would make with eggs and cheese and it would bake up puffy with crispy edges (and I LUVED that too) at the kitchen table with the TV on. It was awesome.
When my dashing husband, semi-vegetarian that he is, goes out of town it means meat. Sausage one night, beef the next. I saw some bee-u-ti-ful little white turnips with their greens still attached at the market the other day. I knew immediately I would make Beef Baked with Turnips and Black Pepper from Madhur Jaffrey’s Spice Kitchen.
First of all, it contains lovely little turnips and BEEF. Second, I’ve had this dish before and it is unbelievably delicious (although, admittedly, no beauty contestant). Third, I hadn’t cooked from someone else’s recipe in so long I was starting to really miss it.
So I cooked the recipe as is. Pretty much. I streamlined some technique because that is my way. Poke 10-15 little turnips with a fork. Toss with 3/4 tsp. salt and let sit while you do the following. In a large heavy pot (like a Le Creuset) heat a bit of vegetable oil and brown 2 to 3 lbs. trimmed boneless beef chuck cut into 1 1/2- to 2 -inch pieces. You’ll need to do this in batches and watch it closely. Take your time. Deeply browned meat is the secret to delicious stews of all sorts.
As each batch browns, transfer it to a bowl .When all done preheat oven to 350. Meanwhile, cook 3 minced onions and 6 cloves minced garlic in the oil and browned (almost burnt!) bits in the pan. The almost burnt bits will loosen right up. Cook, stirring as you like, until onions start to brown. Add 1 Tbsp. ground coriander, 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp.cayenne, and 2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, for a minute. Stir in 1 1/4 cup yogurt and 1 cup water. When everything combines into a sort of sauce, add turnips and beef (plus any liquid that’s accumulated in the bowl). Bring just to a boil. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. garam masala. Cover pot with foil and its lid to seal it as much as possible. Bake 1 1/2 hours without so much as thinking about looking at it.
Madhur Jaffrey has you then “reduce” the sauce on the stovetop, but I’ve never found there is so much sauce to reduce. Instead I let the whole thing sit in the turned-off oven until dinner time (5+ hours – no food poisoning yet!) and reheated it on the stove, resulting in a nice second-day stew effect, which we all know is way better than fresh stew.
We had it with plain basmati rice and turnip greens quickly cooked in a bit of olive oil and a sliced clove of garlic.
Ernie did not really care for the turnips, but he loved the greens–especially while he was allowed to play “twirling greens” (related to twirling strawberries – food item is twirled before eater’s mouth and then eater tries to bite it best they can) so I could take pictures. Once they were snapped he was told to use his fork. How’s that for some awesome parenting?