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Beef Stew with Turnips and Greens

Turnips have a delicately sweet flavor when young, but as they mature they lose their sweetness and become woody—so buy them at their peak, between October and February. The greens, which are edible, should be bright green and garden fresh. If unavailable, substitute Swiss chard, dandelion greens, beet greens or kale.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 oz. bacon or pancetta, finely diced
  • 3 lb. chuck roast or sirloin tip, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 fresh flat-leaf parsley stems, 2 fresh thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaves tied together to make a bouquet garni
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 bunch turnips with greens, turnips cut into 1/2-inch chunks and leaves stemmed and cut crosswise into strips
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and bacon and sauté until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Working in batches, add the beef to the pot in a single layer and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Return all the meat to the pot, sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, until the meat is evenly coated, about 1 minute. Return the onions and bacon to the pot, and add the garlic and bouquet garni.

Increase the heat to high, pour in the wine and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by one-fourth, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and tomato paste, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Remove the bouquet garni and discard. Add the turnips, cover and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the turnip greens, cover and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the stew into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2011).