Crazy for Kohlrabi

Added by
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

I spent over a quarter-century not having the fainest clue what kohlrabi was. The first time the root vegetable registered on my radar was in a friend’s garden when I asked what the Sputnik-like things were poking from the ground (a name that stuck for us Hubers). She answered “kohlrabi,” I went “huh,” and that was that. Until I spotted them, years later, at a farmers’ market and asked the farmer what on Earth she did with such a vegetable.

kohlrabi-whole
raw-kohlrabisteamed-kohlrabi
Whole kohlrabi “Sputniks” (top); raw kohlrabi wedges (bottom left); steamed kohlrabi wedges (bottom right)

I listened carefully, bought a few, then went home and followed her advice, steaming wedges of the bulb and dressing them with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Initially, the stinky feet cabbage-like smell turned me off while they were steaming (it’s actually the hydrogen sulfide emitted from all brassica oleracea vegetables–like broccoli and cabbage–when cooking), but all that was forgotten on first bite.

It had the texture of a perfectly cooked potato mingled with a raw carrot, and an earthy, complex, spicy-sweet flavor that was unlike any other root vegetable I’d tasted — like I’d added a dash of soy sauce or soaked porcini to the bowl. Wow, I thought. And so kohlrabi became a staple in my home. I steam kohlrabi for a snack; I make pickles from it; I roast it; and I substitute it whenever possible for potato.

How to Choose and Store Kohlrabi
You can see from the pic above that kohlrabi comes in both purple and greenish-yellow hues. When peeled, though, the flesh is always light green. Choose small to medium bulbs; I’ve found the larger ones to be more fibrous. Cut off the leaves as soon as you get home (you can zip them and use them like kale or chard), and you can store the bulb in the crisper for weeks.

How to Prepare and Cook Kohlrabi
Cut off the top and bottom, then peel off the outer layer with a Y-peeler until you get to tender flesh. I like to cut them into thin wedges for steaming or chunks for roasting. They’re also great raw; grate the bulb into salads or marinate matchsticks in brine and vinegar for quick pickles.

Give kohlrabi a try … these little Sputniks might just rock your world like they did mine.

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Beef and Barley Stew with Kohlrabi and Carrots

If you rifled through the Campbell’s soup labels I collected as a kid, you’d notice a heavy concentration of Beef and Barley Stew labels. It was my favorite soup. By far. Now, though, I’ve moved so far away from processed foods that it (sadly) just tastes salty and gummy to me. I’ve been meaning to concoct a homemade replacement for years, but somehow have never gotten around to it. Early in the new year, though, I had a pot of beef stock leftover from the holidays, some stew meat and carrots from my CSA, and an expanding enthusiasm for kohlrabi. It was time. If you can’t find kohlrabi, substitute potatoes, or another root vegetable like turnips or rutabaga.

Beef and Barley Stew with Kohlrabi and Carrots

51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Beef and Barley Stew with Kohlrabi and Carrots

Ingredients

  1. 1-1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  2. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil, divded
  4. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  5. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  6. 1 tablespoon yellow Madras curry powder
  7. 6 cups beef broth
  8. 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  9. 1/2 cup pearled barley
  10. 1 cup (1/2-inch diced) carrots
  11. 1-1/2 cups (1/2-inch diced) kohlrabi

Instructions

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the beef well on all sides, 3-4 minutes total. Remove to a bowl or plate.

Heat the remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons oil in the pot and add the onion. Saute 6-8 minutes, until beginning to brown. Stir in the wine and curry powder, and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan with a stiff spatula.

Pour beef broth and Worcestershire sauce into the pot, and bring to a boil. Add the beef back to the pot with the barley. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the carrots and kohlrabi, stir to mix, cover again and simmer another 30 minutes, until vegetables, meat and barley are tender.

http://nourishnetwork.com/2013/01/12/crazy-for-kohlrabi/

  • Elise

    Love the idea of using kohlrabi in a beef stew, great!

  • liahuber

    Thanks, Elise! Great to see you here.