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Caramelized Turnips With Cloves, Cumin & Anise


Adapted from an accompaniment to a 1st-century Roman duck recipe, this dish is a great Thanksgiving side

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  • 2 pounds medium white turnips, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 2 firm but ripe Bosc pears, halved, cored and cut into 10 wedges each
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup mild honey, such as orange blossom
  • 6 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup duck, pork, turkey or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, parsley or a mixture


Servings 6
Adapted from


Step 1

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. On a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, toss turnips and pears with vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon salt, then spread out in a single layer. Roast, flipping once, until turnips are tender when pierced with a paring knife, 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over a medium heat, toast star anise, coriander, cloves, cumin and anise until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Remove spices from pan and let cool, then coarsely grind in a food processor or spice grinder. Set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions until soft, 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.

Add honey and vinegar to onions and boil, stirring constantly, until sauce is syrupy and a bit caramelized, 3-5 minutes.

Stir ground spices and wine into skillet with onions and boil 2 minutes. Add stock and simmer, letting reduce until syrupy and quite thick, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir turnips and pears into sauce and cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes.

To serve, transfer vegetables to a serving dish and sprinkle with cilantro.

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