Turnip, Bacon and Aspall Cyder Gratin
Turnip, Bacon and Aspall Cyder Gratin

Turnip, Bacon and Aspall Cyder Gratin

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  • Portion/Yield:

    Serves 4 as a side dish
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The humble turnip is a widely underused vegetable in the UK, but with a bit of thought and a few choice ingredients to accompany it, the turnip can be transformed into an interesting and delicious meal. This tasty gratin makes a wonderful side dish to accompany roast chicken or pork, but it is fairly rich so serve it in modest portion sizes.

I have chosen to use Aspall Cyder as I am in Suffolk and flying the flag for East Anglian producers however you can exchange it for a cider of your choice.

Ingredients & Method

  • 6 rashers smoked streaky bacon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 banana shallots, finely sliced
  • 200ml apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh horseradish (or substitute ready-grated horseradish from a jar or creamed horseradish, if you like)
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 400ml white chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1kg turnips, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons grated mature Cheddar cheese (I like to use a strong Cheddar like Montgomery or Keen’s, but perhaps choose one locally produced in your region)
  • 2 tablespoons coarse fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Cut 2 of the bacon rashers into thin strips and set aside. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan until hot, then add the remaining 4 whole bacon rashers to the pan and cook over a high heat for 2–3 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from the heat and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.

In the same pan, melt the butter and once it starts to foam, sauté the bacon strips and shallots over a high heat for 7–8 minutes or until golden brown. Pour the cider into the pan and let it bubble, stirring and scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze it. Cook over a medium heat for 1 minute, then add the horseradish, mustard and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8–10 minutes or until the stock has reduced by half. Stir in the cream, then bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the turnips into 2–3mm-thick slices (preferably using a mandolin) and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the cream sauce and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a shallow, ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the turnips are cooked and tender.

Remove the dish from the oven, lay the cooked bacon rashers on top of the cheese and then sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and parsley. Return the gratin to the oven for a further 5 minutes or so, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and crisp and the liquid is bubbling. Serve immediately.