Finnish Turnip Casserole


Originally posted by Jess – December 23, 2015

Hi everyone, Jess here.  Tonight we’re taking a look at those giant turnips from Four Town Farm in Seekonk, MA.

imageAt first glance, at these gargantuan veggies, I must admit I was nervous.  The vision I held of giant turnips from my childhood usually accompanied a bitter and icky taste.  After cutting one of these open for a sample, I was pleasantly surprised by their crisp sweetness.  Enjoying these will not be a problem!

We’ve roasted turnips here before, and they are great that way!  However I wanted to try something new this evening.  I began working with a recipe for Lanttulaatikko, which is a Finnish turnip casserole and popular holiday side dish there.  Many of the versions I was finding during my internet search were actually written in Finnish, so my translation of ingredients was questionable.  I was able to find a good looking recipe from SusanJM at Bigoven to try.  Her grandfather was born in Finland and in a round about way, this recipe made it through the generations.  Though she was unsure of the authenticity, it continues to be enjoyed in her family.  I made a few adaptations based on the ingredients and time I had on hand.  

image

As we were a bit pressed for time here tonight, I peeled and diced the bigger turnip and quickly boiled it.  The original recipe calls for cooking it in larger chunks for a longer period.  When time permits, I definitely prefer the latter approach as less of the flavor can get lost in the boiling process that way.   Next time, I might even try toasting before mashing these veggies.  I am steadily using my carrots from the root cellar so I tossed a couple of them into this dish as well.

Here is the list of adapted ingredients

  • 1 large turnip (6 inch diameter)
  • 2 peeled and diced carrots
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar (I’ll use less next time)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (my adaptation)
  • Another quick adaptation was that I had cream on-hand that I wanted to use, so I replaced the 1/3 cup of milk in the recipe with cream.  It was a little more decadent this way.

In my food processor I pulsed the cream, egg, cinnamon and butter together before adding the carrots and turnips and mashing to incorporate.  You could blend this mixture smooth, or leave some chunky goodness.  I think either way has it’s merits

image

After blending the veggies with the remaining ingredients, it was poured into a pan. I forewent the sprinkle of breadcrumbs for this one. Here is the before shot:

image

Here it is after an hour of baking at 350 degrees.

image

Despite the cream, the texture had a light and velvety thing going. It was a bit too sweet for me, I think the turnip had enough natural sugar to carry it in this dish.  It was a bit like a dessert, tasting almost like rice pudding. I think next time I’m going to go a bit more savory and mix it up a bit.  Less sugar, and perhaps roasting the turnip first.  

Thanks for reading, thanks to Springdell and Four Town Farms for the bounty that made this dish possible and to SarahJMfor the inspiration.  As always, we’d love to hear how you’re enjoying your turnips, too!


About Jess

Jess Anderson is the creator of CSA|365 and is passionate about the local food movement. A busy mother of two, Jess loves keeping her family fed by honest local food. She is involved with the Westford Community Garden Working Group, Friends of Fat Moon, and is the current chair of the Westford Strawberries 'N Arts Festival.