Home grown, best in winter
I love the unique flavour of swedes, which seems to epitomise all the goodness of home cooking. They have long been of service to cooks because their presence in stews and casseroles not only ekes out the meat to make it go further, but also adds something of its own flavour, while at the same time absorbing some of the meat flavours as well. Swede is also good served solo as a vegetable.
To prepare swede: all you need is a potato peeler to peel it in precisely the same way as a potato, slicing off the root end first with a knife. Then just cut the swede into suitably sized chunks.
To cook swede: cut it into 1 inch (2.5 cm) dice and steam for about 10 minutes, or until tender, then whiz to a purée in a food processor, or mash with a fork, adding a knob of butter, salt and lots of freshly milled black pepper. This method also works very well using half swede and half carrot but, in this case, I like it chopped small rather than puréed.
For roast swede: cut the chunks larger – 1½ inches (4 cm) – place the cubes in a bowl, adding (for 1 lb/450 g) 1 dessertspoon of olive oil and some seasoning. Toss the swede around to get all the pieces coated in the oil, then place them on a baking tray and roast in a pre-heated oven set to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C) for 30-35 minutes, until the swede is nicely toasted brown at the edges. Serves 4.
Roasting vegetables is a great way of maximising their nutritional benefit as the vitamins don't leach out into the cooking water - and they're full of flavour and texture. This recipe uses all those wonderful root veg in one go.
Pot-roasting is a wonderful way to ensure tender meat and plenty of flavour. The joy of this dish is that, once you've done the initial preparation, you just leave it to bubble away, filling your kitchen with lovely aromas.
Delia describes this soup as 'one of the best I've ever tasted' and we're certainly not arguing with that! Some soups are hearty and filling enough to make a substantial lunch and this Italian classic is one of them: just add bread…
Roasting swede gives it a totally different dimension from boiling or steaming it, and adding a coating of flour and Parmesan cheese gives it a wonderful crunchy outside. Give it a try - even swede haters will love it!
This is another version of a parsnip recipe from my Christmas book. It has been said that even children will eat swede when it tastes this good.