Victory Over Black Radishes!


Last week when I picked up my CSA box I left the parsnips behind, but I wasn’t ready to give up on the black radishes. Every year I take one, slice it, soak it, and then try to hide it in a salad. These radishes are very hard and to me they have a bitter/musty flavor. I’ve never learned to like them raw and so they’d sit in a corner of the produce bin making me feel guilty until I did the walk of shame out to the compost bin.

I decided the radishes weren’t going to win this year! I’ve heard of cooking red radishes and wondered if the same could be done with black. I finally found a recipe online that cooked them in a stew. I was sure that cooking had to tone down their bitter flavor a bit, could definitely soften them up, and a stew would have other flavors and textures that might help camouflage them if none of the above were true.

In the Uzbek section of the Web site World Hearth Circle of International Cooking I found a recipe for Khuplama (Beef And Black Radish Stew). Because my son doesn’t like white potatoes I switched to a sweet potato, which really went well with the earthiness of the carrots and radish. It was a very colorful stew. We all loved it. My husband, who complains if he’s given leftovers, requested I pack it in his lunch.

Cooked, the radish flavor became mellow, almost like a spring turnip. On the side I served sour cream, fresh-baked drop biscuits and a spring green salad with apples and leftover buttermilk blue cheese dressing from the night before.

I will definitely make this again and will no longer dread the coming of the Black Radish. I now know that I can also use them in curries, soups or maybe even shredded in a stir fry.

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