Stuffed Turnips In Cider

Course : Vegetables
Serves: 4
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4 medium turnips
1 medium red bell pepper
1 teaspoon salt and pepper -- to taste
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon or
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme -- packed, or
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme -- (scant ts.)
8 ounces lean ground lamb
2 tablespoons dried currants
1 small onion -- peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg -- lightly beaten
1 slice white bread -- crumbled
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups extra-dry apple cider
1 piece bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy -- (whipping) cream*
3 Cup rice -- (optl.)

Preparation / Directions:

*If you want to serve these turnips over rice, increase the amount of cream to 1 cup, so there will be plenty of sauce to moisten the rice. Preheat the broiler. Peel the turnips. Using a melon baller or a stiff vegetable peeler, hollow them out, leaving the sides and bottom approximately 3/8" thick. Reserve the turnip pulp for another use, such as adding to a soup or salad. Blanch the turnip shells in boiling salted water to cover until they have softened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain; set aside. Place the red pepper on a piece of aluminum foil under the broiler and roast it, turning it as the skin blisters and turns black, which will take 15 minutes. Remove the pepper from the broiler, wrap it in the foil, and set it aside to steam, 10 to 15 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, peel it and remove the membranes and the seeds. Cut the pepper into 1/2" wide strips. Line each hollowed-out turnip with three strips of red pepper, then season with salt and pepper. DIce any remaining pepper strips. Mince the tarragon and thyme. In a medium-size bowl, combine the lamb, currants, onion, herbs, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add the egg, bread and diced pepper; mix well. To check the seasoning, saute a teaspoonful of the filling in a small pan over medium-high heat. Adjust seasoning to taste. Fill the turnips with the stuffing, mounding it slightly at the top. Melt butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. When it is foaming but not smoking, brown the turnips on all sides. (This is a bit tricky because the turnips tend to roll around, but it is possible and does make a big difference to the dish.) When the turnips have browned, set them upright in the pan; pour the cider around them. Add the bay leaf and bring the cider to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and let simmer until the stuffing is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the turnips from the pan and arrange them on a serving dish. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in a low (200 F.) oven. Reduce cooking liquid by one third over medium-high heat, 5 minutes. Then whisk in the cream and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and pour around the turnips. Serve immediately.

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