Melanie Johnson believes that swede needn't be boring.

“Swede isn’t the most elegant of vegetables, I grant you, but it does taste rather good mashed in the Scottish style when, strictly speaking, it ought to be referred to as neeps. I haven’t paired it with haggis here, but venison sausages. Whether they’re homemade or bought from your butcher, they’ll make you think of stalking in the Highlands”

Venison bangers and swede mash with pesto and beer-braised onions (serves 4)

Ingredients
12 venison sausages
1 medium-sized swede
2 medium-sized carrots
25g butter
75ml whole milk
A pinch of nutmeg
Seasoning

75ml olive oil
50g grated Parmesan
50g walnuts
A generous handful basil leaves
1 clove garlic
Seasoning

12 small white onions
300ml brown ale
300ml beef stock
3 cloves garlic
3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1tbspn dark-brown sugar

Method
Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Cook the sausages in a roasting tin for about 25 minutes or until they’re done, turning halfway through.

Peel the swede and carrots and cut them into even chunks. Boil them until tender, for about 20 minutes. Drain them, then mash with the butter, milk, nutmeg and seasoning.

Whizz up the olive oil, grated Parmesan, walnuts, basil leaves, garlic and seasoning in a blender until you have a coarse paste.

Set aside.

Peel the onions, leaving them whole, and transfer to a saucepan into which they fit snugly. Pour the brown ale and stock over them, then add the garlic, thyme, rosemary and sugar. Simmer for about 25 minutes, or until cooked.

Spoon the mashed swede into a dish and swirl the pesto through the top. Serve with the sausages and onions, using the rich sauce from them as gravy.

 

More ways with swede

Roasted swede wedges with thyme and pecorino
Peel a large swede and cut into wedges. Brush them with olive oil and scatter them with thyme, then roast in a tin in a hot oven for about 30 minutes. Take the tin out and add a generous scattering of grated pecorino, return it to the oven and roast for a further 8–10 minutes. Serve with any roasted meat.

Curried swede soup
Peel a swede and chop into small chunks. Arrange on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast in a hot oven for 25 minutes. Fry a chopped white onion, 2 diced carrots, 1 diced celery stalk and a few sprigs of thyme in a pan with a splash of olive oil until soft. Season, add the swede, then pour in enough vegetable stock to just cover the vegetables. Simmer gently, before using a stick blender to purée the mixture. Mix a few tablespoons of cream with an equal amount of curry paste and swirl them through the soup. Serve with crusty bread.

 

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