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Author Notes: ”Grelos” (Sprouting Turnip Tops) is original from the North of Portugal and Spain (Galicia). This superb vegetable is also very popular in Northern Italy (Cima di Rapa) and it’s present in a number of classic Italian dishes including Orecchiete e Cima di Rapa.
They are in season in winter, are deep green with small yellow flowers which give them a nice bitter taste.
The main use of “grelos” in Portugal is in Rice with Turnip Greens, served as a side dish with fish or cod-fish. Some people cook it as my recipe, where the rice is dry and other people add extra stock so it's a little runny. It is also widely used lightly boiled in very little water uncovered (otherwise they lose their green), squeezed and simply pan fried in olive oil and a whole garlic, which you will find as a vegetable side dish in most restaurants.
If you can’t find Turnip Tops the best substitute is Swiss Chard.
—Maria Teresa Jorge
- 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
- 3 cups water or light vegetable broth
- 6 cups or 1 big bunch fresh turnip sprouts leaves and flowers, washed and thick stems removed
- 1 medium carrot diced small
- 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Chop the onions finely.
- Chop the garlic cloves finely, removing the inner green part.
- Peel the carrot and dice in small cubes.
- Wash the turnip leaves 2 or 3 times to remove any earth attached. Remove the thicker stem, keep all the flowers and put in a colander to drain. 6 cups may seem a lot but when they wilt they become 1 cup, and the nice about this rice is to have a lot of greens, rather then one here and one there.
- Put the 3 cups of water or light vegetable broth in a pan to warm up.
- In a pan with a tight fitting lid, over medium heat, add the olive oil and the chopped onions, stir and fry for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, stir, add the garlic and let cook for 1 minute. The garlic browns quicker then the other vegetables so it goes in at last so it doesn't burn.
- Add the turnip greens, stir to coat well with the olive oil and mix with the onions and carrots, put a tight fitting lid and reduce the heat to the minimum and cook for 5 minutes. When you add the greens the pan will be full but after 1 minute they will reduce and continue reducing and you'll be surprised by how little you have after 5 minutes.
- Uncover, add the rice, stir very well to blend with all the vegetables, add the hot water or vegetable broth, season with salt and a little pepper, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a minimum and cover. Cook for 17 minutes WITHOUT ever opening the lid or stirring the rice.
- Turn off the heat, let sit 3 minutes still covered. Then fluff up the rice and the vegetables. Serve immediately as a side dish.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Greens
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Carrot Recipe
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Vegetarian Holiday Side
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Savory Rice Dish