Kohlrabi? What Do I Do With That?

So I’m sure at least a few of you were asking yourselves, “What’s a kohlrabi?”  If you were, you’re not alone.  I wasn’t too sure exactly what a kohlrabi was, either.  I had heard of it before, but I’ve never tried it.  And considering that I was a chef years ago, and have been involved with restaurants and the hospitality business for several years now, I don’t think that speaks well of the kohlrabi’s reputation.

But fear not!

Though it might look frightening, kohlrabi is not only delicious and offers a very unique flavor that can be easily substituted into more traditional dishes.

{Recipe and more after the jump.}

Kohlrabi is actually a member of the cabbage family. Through interesting breeding techniques, Northern Europeans developed the vegetable for its bulbous root. The flavor is unique — my best description is that its like a mild, sweet turnip.

The root’s skin can be fairly thick and should be peeled. The end of the root is also quite fibrous. Try to find where the tender part of the vegetable meets the fibrous part, and slice it there. The fibrous end can be trimmed down with a knife to reach a more tender core. The root can be eaten raw or cooked.  The leaves are also edible, making this farm share an abundant source of food. They can be cooked in much the same way as spinach, and have a similar taste to turnip greens.

As far as nutrition goes, kohlrabi aren’t spectacular but they aren’t bad either. Per 100 grams (3.5 oz), the raw vegetable contains 6.2 grams of carbohydrates, of which 2.6 grams are sugars and 3.6 grams are fiber. It contains almost no fat a 1.7 grams of protein. It also contains 103% of your daily vitamin C, which is a nice added bonus.

The biggest obstacle most people face when looking at kohlrabi in their refrigerator is their unfamiliarity with the vegetable. If you’ve put off using your kohlrabi as I did, then you’ll love this great way to quickly and easily use your kohlrabi share: Kohlrabi and parsnip puree. With the texture of fluffy mashed potatoes and a unique taste, this dish will surely please. — Adam Gregory

Kohlrabi and Parsnip Puree

Servings: 6

Cooking time: around 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 CSA bunch kohlrabi (about 5)
  • 2 parsnips
  • ¼ cup cream
  • ½ – 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbs salt
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

1)        Start by removing the leaves from yourkKohlrabi with a small knife.  Reserve these leaves for later as they can be cooked like many of the other leafy greens found in your weekly shares.

2)        Place a medium or large pot on the stove with just enough liquid to cook the vegetables.  The more liquid that you have, the longer it will take to boil, so try to have only enough to cook the vegetables.  Meanwhile, peel 5 kohlrabi roots.  The end of the root will be fibrous.  Try to find where the fibrous end starts, and slice through the root there.  The tender end of the root can be cut in half, then each half quartered.  The more fibrous end piece can be trimmed down to reveal a tender center.  Cut the tender centers into similar size pieces.  Add to your pot of water.

3)        Peel two parsnips and cut the vegetable into pieces of about the same size as your kohlrabi pieces.  Add to your pot of water.  Adjust the water level if you need to.  It should be just above the vegetables.

4)        Cover your pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  When the water comes to a boil, add 1 tbs of salt, stir thoroughly, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  At this point, check the Kohlrabi pieces for tenderness.  They tend to take longer to boil then potatoes do, as they are more dense.  If needed, continue to cook for an additional 1-5 minutes or until a knife can easily pierce a boiled kohlrabi piece.

5)        Drain the vegetables and add to a blender with ¼ cup of cream and ½ cup of chicken broth.  Using the lowest setting, start pureeing the mixture.  This will take a couple of minutes as you will likely have to stop the blender every 20 seconds to press the vegetables down with a large spoon or ladel.  If needed, add additional broth slowly to help the blender puree the vegetables.  It may take a cup of chicken broth (or more) to get the vegetables properly broken down.  When the vegetables are broken down, increase the speed of the blender gradually and blend until smooth.

6)        Taste for seasoning.  By salting the water earlier, the kohlrabi and parsnip puree may be well seasoned and may not need additional salt.  If you feel it does, now is the time to add it to blend it completely unto the puree.  If you would like to add white pepper, do so, but I would caution against adding black pepper unless you want little black specks throughout your dish.

7)        Add the puree to a clean pot and heat over medium low heat.  This may take around 5 minutes.  You’ll want to cook some of the moisture out of the kohlrabi and parsnip puree to get a similar texture to mashed potatoes.

8)        Serve this dish as a would mashed potatoes.  It’s similar enough in texture and flavor to the original dish, but the taste is entirely unique, giving a richer and sweeter flavor to the dish.

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One response

  1. Pingback: Apple Cranberry Walnut Muffins « Collard Courier

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