IF you celebrated Burns Night last week then you’ll have enjoyed some traditional mashed swede or ‘neeps’ as part of your Scottish supper I’m sure. Swede is one of my favourite seasonal vegetables and it is in plentiful supply at the moment with the peak season running until the end of February.
Not to be confused with turnips, swede’s rather ugly and boring appearance belies its wonderful and unique taste.
With a fine texture and a sweet, earthy flavour swede makes a great side dish or can be added to soups and stews to add flavour and interest.
However, overcooking swede will cause it to disintegrate and dilute its flavour so be careful and stick to cooking times.
Roasting swede creates a more concentrated flavour but most people (myself included) prefer to boil it.
You can also use it raw, grated into salads, for an extra element of flavour and crunch.
One of my favourite - and possibly the most popular - ways to use swede is to combine it with some carrots and serve as a side dish alongside meat or fish.
This is now a regular feature on the menu at the restaurant and we almost always serve it as part of our vegetable selection in the colder months.
This is a really vibrant and tasty way of preparing swede and will brighten up your winter table. It also ticks the nutritional boxes too and is full of vitamins A and C which could help to ward off those pesky colds and sniffles!
I like to add a good knob of butter and a glug of double cream to make my carrot and swede mash really rich and delicious.
You can make this in advance if you’re serving it as part of a big meal or Sunday roast and it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.
You can even freeze it - just add the cream and butter when you’re ready to reheat and serve.
If you prefer a smoother mash or even a puree, then you can add a little of the cooking water or a bit more cream to loosen it and use a stick blender to reach your preferred consistency.
The carrots and swede should be roughly equal in size when chopped to ensure even cooking.
CARROT AND SWEDE MASH
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
500g swede, peeled and cubed
500g carrots, peeled and chopped
100ml double cream
Salt & black pepper
In a large pan, boil the carrots and swede in salted water for 15-20 minutes until tender.
Drain and roughly mash with the butter, cream, salt and plenty of black pepper.