I recently started collaborating with Crop Drop, the Haringey based organic veg box company. They were after someone to write recipes using their lovely veg so I jumped at the chance.
The first week I was tasked with a challenge; swede! Swede isn't the easiest of vegetables to turn into something delicious. It can often be a hefty vegetable, weighing in at over a kilo, which means a lot of swede eating during the week. Mashed with some carrots, lots of butter and nutmeg, it stands up to any vegetable; it makes a good filler in a soup and it's not bad with tatties and some haggis! However, there's only so many servings of mashed swede you can cope with per week and apart from that, it can seem quite hard to be inspired, unless you're a little inventive...
Here I've created a couple of recipes that feel quite different from your average swede recipe. The burger patty in the first recipe, can be used to glam up many different types of veg, but I especially like it with parsnip and carrot; you could make them with sweetcorn, cabbage, cauliflower, pretty much anything. The second recipe caramelises the vegetable in flavoured butter and it really is a lovely way to cook it. You could quite easily cook steaks of swede this way and then turn them into a cheesy gratin with breadcrumbs, some béchamel, maybe some nuts.... delicious!
Spiced swede burgers with mint yoghurt, quick pickled beetroot & turmeric potatoes.
This vegan burger recipe is based on the classic ingredients for an Indian pakora. You could use a variety of spices in the recipe, keeping it simple if you like or adding a whole host of spices as I have done. You could also mix up the vegetable, substituting parsnip, beetoot, sweetcorn etc for the swede if you like.
The patties freeze very well. I’d suggest freezing them before they go into the oven for the final cook.
For the burgers
100g gram flour (chickpea flour)
175g coarsely peeled and grated swede
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin seed
½ tsp nigella seed
½ tsp mild paprika
Pinch of chilli powder (add more if you like spice)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp tightly packed chopped coriander (you can use the stalks as well)
6 tbsp veg oil
1 beef tomato
1 baby gem lettuce
4 burger buns
For the quick pickled beetroot
1 medium beetroot, peeled and finely sliced (I used a mandolin)
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
For the mint yoghurt
100g natural yoghurt (or vegan alternative)
1 tbsp finely chopped mint
For the turmeric potatoes
600g potatoes, diced into large bit sized pieces
¼ tsp turmeric
2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat your oven to 175°C
First pickle the beetroot. In a medium sized bowl, simply dissolve the sugar and salt in the vinegar. Add the beetroot slices and mix them around so all the beetroot has been doused in the pickling liquid. Leave to one side whilst you prepare everything else. From time to time come back to the beetroot and give it a good mix.
Next make your burgers. Mix the gram flour with all the spices, salt and baking powder. Then mix in the water followed by the grated swede, spring onion and coriander.
Heat the oil in a wide non-stick frying pan. Once hot, add large dessert spoons of the swede burger mix to the hot oil. Push them down gently to form round burger sized patties. The mixture will make 4 patties. Depending on the size of your pan you will probably need to do this in 2 batches.
Cook for 2.5 minutes on the first side until golden brown and then carefully, using a spatula, flip over and cook for another 2.5 minutes on the second side. Transfer to a tray lined with kitchen towel to absorb some of the oil. You can prep the patties ahead up to this stage and refrigerate or freeze.
Now prepare the potatoes. Mix the potatoes with the olive oil, turmeric and some salt. Transfer to a baking tray lined with non-stick paper and place in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.
When the potatoes have 15 minutes left to cook, place the burger patties on a baking tray and add to the oven for the remaining 15 minutes of cooking time for the potatoes.
Meanwhile mix the yoghurt with some finely chopped fresh mint and a good pinch of salt. Prepare the baby gem and beef tomato as you like. Warm the burger buns if you want.
Now build your burger. Place some baby gem on the base of your bun, top with tomato, some drained beetroot slices, some of the yoghurt and then the burger once out of the oven. Top with the other half of the burger bun and serve with the turmeric potatoes!
Roast swede steak with Turkish chilli butter, couscous and cranberries, labneh and wilted chard
This recipe certainly takes swede to a new dimension. After gentle cooking in butter and then in the oven, slices of swede transform into soft, silky steaks spiced with Turkish chilli and armotaic garlic and rosemary. Turkish chilli flakes called Pul biber have a wonderful fruity quality to them and not too much heat. If you can’t get hold of any, don’t worry, just use ½ the quantity of normal crushed chilli flakes instead.
4 x 1.5cm thick slices of swede, peeled
75g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 garlic cloves, left whole in their skins
1 tsp pul biber chilli flakes
300ml hot vegetable stock or water
1 tsp cumin seed
30g dried cranberries (you could use raisins or dried apricots)
30g unsalted shelled pistachios (you could substitute almonds)
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
Salt and black pepper
200g rainbow chard or spinach
100g plain labneh or Greek yoghurt
Preheat your oven to 175°C
Over a moderate heat, melt the butter with 1 tbsp of olive oil in a wide non-stick pan. Add your swede steaks to the pan, in a single layer, and season with salt and black pepper. Now add the garlic cloves and rosemary to the gaps in between the steaks.
Allow the steaks to cook for 7.5 minutes on the first side. Don’t be tempted to move them around too much as this will prevent them from getting nicely caramelised. Once browned on the first side, using a spatula, flip them over and cook the second side for 5 minutes, regularly spooning some of the flavoursome butter over the top of each steak.
After 5 minutes, transfer the steaks and garlic, together with a little of the buttery cooking oil, to a baking tray lined with non-stick paper. Pop the tray in the oven and cook the steaks for 15 minutes until tender (when the point of a sharp knife easily goes through the thickest part of the steak, they’re done). If needs be, you can leave them in the oven on a lower heat whilst you finish the other components.
Meanwhile, return the pan used to fry the steaks to a gentle heat and add the chilli flakes. Allow to bubble for a minute or so before pouring into a small bowl or ramekin for use later. Clean the frying pan.
Prepare your couscous. Simply pour the hot stock or water over the couscous and cover with cling film. Fluff with a fork after a few minutes and recover until all the liquid is absorbed.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in the clean frying pan along with 1 tbsp of the chilli oil that you put aside. Once hot, add the onion, cumin seed, cranberries and pistachios to the pan and cook gently for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft and starting to brown at the edges. Then add the pomegranate molasses and allow to bubble for a minute or so before adding the couscous. Give everything a good mix. Drizzle over some more of the chilli oil that you’re reserved to one side and season well with salt and black pepper. Make sure you taste for seasoning!
Cook your chard or spinach as you like and then finally plate the dish up. First add some couscous to the plate, followed by some spinach and then the swede steak. Add a dollop of labneh or yoghurt to one side and then drizzle more chilli oil all over the dish.