A Smashing Hit: Smashed Turnips with Leeks

I trust everyone had a great holiday, whatever event you were celebrating. There are many winter holiday events, some religious and some not, but the one thing we really celebrate in the winter is food! We come up with some fabulous ideas for cookies, cakes, pastries, main courses, appetizers… it’s an “eat” occasion!

Personally, I feel like I’ve been eating non-stop since the middle of last week. There are cookies and cinnamon rolls that look like donut holes, lasagna, tiramisu, a fabulous sirloin roast and pumpkin pie. Almost everything was low carb, but still… I expected to pack on a few pounds from all of this. So you can imagine my surprise when I weighed in today to find I not only had not gained anything, but had lost about a pound! This kind of brings into focus the advice from Atkins to keep your burner stoked. Once the fat burning starts in the morning, those little snacks, a small lunch and more snacks, keep the burner going. I have gradually learned that I lose pounds more consistently when I eat three good meals with two or three little snacks along the way. And I am full all day long, not sitting around with a growling stomach, but actually enjoying a low carb candy bar and feeling good about it.

So, speaking of the holidays, I had a great Christmas dinner with the aforementioned roast sirloin, butternut squash with butter and cinnamon, cranberry sauce and smashed turnips with leeks. It was awesome. I’m sharing the recipe here for the turnips. I know this isn’t the most popular vegetable, but it is a great low carb one and mixed with other flavors, it’s really a good substitute for potatoes. Somebody must be buying turnips besides me though, because all the local grocery stores seem to keep a pretty good supply of these lovely globes. I look for 2 1/2 to 3 inch roots that are fresh so that they won’t have gotten bitter. Peel the skin off… it does taste bitter unless the vegetable is very young and fresh. If the skin is tough, you’ll want to peel down until you reach the softer part of the root.

My secret ingredient in this recipe is mashed potato flakes. This is not on the Atkins approved list unless you’re in maintenance, but I don’t use much and it adds both a little flavor and thickens the mixture so it is more like potatoes. You can omit them and the dish is still very good.

Smashed Turnips with Leeks

6 Turnips,  cut into 1 inch cubes (2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter)
2 cups Cauliflower, frozen chopped or equivalent in fresh cauliflower
1 Leek, cleaned and sliced (all but the very tough part of the top)
1/3 cup Mashed Potatoes flakes
2 tablespoons Butter, divided
2 tablespoons Heavy Cream or Sour Cream
Bacon Bits (optional)
Salt and Pepper to preference
Garlic salt or garlic powder

In a 2 quart pot, add turnips and enough water to cover. If using fresh cauliflower, add that at this time also. Boil until the turnips are almost soft (about 20 minutes), then add the frozen cauliflower. Add more water as needed during cooking. Cook until vegetables are fork tender and break easily. Pour off most of the water, leaving about 1/3 cup in the pan. Using a heavy spoon, hand masher or spatula, smash the turnips and cauliflower into a lumpy mash or use a mixer to blend them to a smooth mash.

In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and lightly sauté the leeks to bring out the flavor and cook them until tender. Add to the turnips and cauliflower. Add potato flakes and stir in well, cooking a little on low heat to keep warm. Add remaining butter, seasonings and heavy cream or sour cream and mix well.

Serve with extra butter or a low carb brown gravy.

Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup)

Nutrition Info per serving:
Calories: 89.2 Net Carbs: 7.3 g Protein: 2 g

Leaving out the potato flakes will reduce the net carbs by about 2 carbs per serving.

Store and reheat leftovers or make into Turnip Pancakes as a breakfast or lunch side dish
Posted on 12/28/2012