With the festive season almost upon us, I wanted to share some seasonal favourites. I had to include neeps & tatties partly because I find the name so adorable but also because it’s a relatively easy side dish, or great way to use up any leftover root veg from your festive feast.
I’d never heard of neeps & tatties before moving to the UK. And until fairly recently, I had assumed that the name of the dish referred to turnips and potatoes. As it turns out, it’s actually swede and potatoes.
Apparently, I’m not alone in my confusion. This is a common misconception stemming from the fact that people just can’t seem to agree on which Brassica is a turnip and which is a swede.
To me, turnips are the small whitish-purple ones with smooth skin and white flesh. Swedes are the larger, purplish-yellow ones with tougher skin and yellowish flesh. (The recipe below uses this distinction.)
However, in some parts of Scotland and Ireland, as well as Northern England, it’s the exact opposite. To make things even more confusing, a swede is not known as a turnip but in some parts of the world can also be called a yellow turnip, neep (rumoured to come from “new turnip”), Swedish turnip (swede?) or winter turnip… The Americans wanted to be different yet again and went with the (much cooler) name of rutabaga, which comes from the Swedish rotabagga or “root bag”.
Simple? Not so much…
In this recipe, I used both swedes and turnips to quell any arguments…
Neeps & Tatties
Adapted from The Abel & Cole Veg Box Companion
2 medium potatoes, diced with skin on
1 large swede, peeled and diced
3 turnips, peeled and diced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
150g baby leeks, washed and sliced
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 lemon – juice and zest
2 sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves only (+ extra for garnish)
Toss the veg with oil and seasoning in a large bowl. Spread veg evenly in a heated pan, adding more oil if needed. Fry for 2-3 minutes then turn.
Cover pan and continue cooking on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, until veg softened. Add coconut oil and stir through evenly, then add leeks, garlic, and thyme. Fry until leeks browned and root veg golden.
Stir in lemon juice and 3/4 of the zest just before serving.
Sprinkle with fresh thyme to serve.