Köel Ruben

Stewed Turnips

Source: Ein New Kochbuch by Marx Rumpolt, a 16th century collection of German recipes

Köel Ruben

Original Recipe:

Nim̄ Köel Ruben/ schel vnd schneidt sie fein klein/ quell sie in Wasser/ thu sie in ein kleinen Fischkessel/ vnd seig ein gute Rindtfleischbrüeh darüeber/ the gute frische Butter/ die vnzerlassen ist/ darein/ vnnd lasz Kurtz eynsieden/ so wirt es gut vnd wolgeschmack

Translation: (Translated by M. Grasse)

Take rutabaga/ peel and cut them nicely small/ poach them in water/ put them in a little fishkettle/ and pour a good beef broth thereover/ a good fresh butter/ that is unmelted/ and let simmer a short time/ so it is good and well tasting

My Interpretation:

1 pound of turnips
¼ cup butter
1 pint of beef broth

Set a pot of water to bring to boil. Peel and dice turnips. Poach turnip pieces in boiling water for between five and ten minutes. Drain water. Add beef broth and butter, simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.


  • Although M. Grasse has translated this recipe as using Rutabagas. I think this may have been turnips instead. The German word for turnip is Rübe and Koel translates to cool. The literal translation of Köel Ruben is cool roots. Rutabagas are first mentioned in the 17th century and are a hybrid between turnips and cabbage. I decided to go with turnips which are known to date to antiquity.
  • It is important to make sure the turnips are peeled completely, as most of the bitterness in turnips reside in the skin.
  • Poaching the turnip pieces also helps to remove the bitter components.
  • For a vegetarian variation, substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth.


Rumpolt, Marx. "Ein new Kochbuch", Transliteration by Thomas Gloning, http://www.uni-giessen.de/gloning/kobu.htm

Rumpolt Marx Ein New Kochbuch [Online] // Ein New Kochbuch / ed. Grasse M.. - 2002. - February 5, 2009. - http://clem.mscd.edu/~grasse/GK_Rumpolt1.htm. - This is a translation of the book first published in 1581 by Marx Rumpolt. It has nearly 1000 recipes.

"Manuscriptorium." Manuscriptorium. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2012. <http://www.manuscriptorium.com/index.php>.The Manuscriptorium's mission is to Build a Virtual Research Environment for the Sphere of Historical Resources. A facsimile of Ein New Kochbuch is available in the Digital Library (Document # 95.107)