I bought a pound of organically-grown turnips at the farmer’s market, and it took me a few days to decide what to do with them. Turnips are not something I use often; in fact, the last time I bought them may have been almost a year ago when I made Creamed Turnips. I mentioned in that post that the turnips had a sharp odor when I cut them, but these little organic turnips had no such odor. In fact, they were so tender and sweet that I wondered if I could have used them unpeeled.
But instead of throwing them in unpeeled, I saved the peel and did something I rarely do: I made vegetable stock. Making your own stock is extremely simple, but I almost never think ahead to do it. All you need to do is simmer some vegetables in water until they’re soft and strain the vegetables out, pressing on them to get all the juices. I made the stock for this recipe by simmering the turnip peels, the light green parts of the leeks, and the carrot trimmings along with about 2 cups of celery leaves and stalks, a handful of fresh parsley, and two chopped carrots in 6 cups of water for a half hour. When I strained it, there was about 4 cups of broth–just enough for this recipe.
You may remember this spice blend from Ethiopian-Inspired Red Lentil Soup. It’s a wonderful combination that I think of as “warming.” I like to keep it on-hand for any time I want to spice up an otherwise humdrum dish. If you are a fan of exotic seasonings, give it a try. It’s easy to put together and stays fresh for a while in the refrigerator.
Chickpea and Turnip Stew with Ethiopian Spices
This is a very simple, adaptable dish that cooks up quickly. If you don’t have time to make the berberé spice mixture, you can change the flavoring entirely and use curry powder or garam masala; you may need to adjust the amount to taste. Also feel free to substitute the turnips with potatoes or any other root vegetable.
- 1 pound small turnips (may substitute potatoes or sweet potatoes)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger root
- 2 teaspoons berberé seasoning (below)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 3 leeks, white parts only, washed well and chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth or stock
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained well
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 cup plain soymilk
To make the berberé spice mixture, combine:
1 Tbs. ground cardamom
1 Tbs. ground coriander
1 Tbs. fenugreek
1 Tbs. ground nutmeg
1 Tbs. ground allspice
1 Tbs. cinnamon
1 Tbs. paprika
1 Tbs. turmeric
1 Tbs. ground black pepper
1 Tbs. ground sea salt (optional)
1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. ground cloves (depending on how much like cloves)
1 tsp. cayenne (use more or less to taste)
Clean the turnips well. Trim off the tops and bottoms and then peel them. Cut them into 1/2-inch cubes.
Heat a large, non-stick pot. Add the onions and sauté until they begin to turn brown. Add the ginger root, berbere seasoning, and turmeric and sauté for another minute.
Add all the remaining ingredients except the soymilk. Cook, covered, until the turnips are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove about 1 1/2 cups of the stew and puree it in a blender. Return it to the pot, along with the soymilk. Stir well until heated throughout and serve.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s) | Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Nutrition (per serving): 254 calories, 21 calories from fat, 2.5g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1473.4mg sodium, 759mg potassium, 50.9g carbohydrates, 10.3g fiber, 10.3g sugar, 10.3g protein, 7.4 points.