Celery root is a vegetable imagined by H.P. Lovecraft - a vegetable out of space and time, gnarled and twisted in ways that will drive men insane!
Um…sorry. I got carried away. Celery root isn't that bad. But it does drive me insane - I get it every year in my winter CSA box, and I never know what to do with it. It looks like a bundle of roots and dirt. I was too guilty to just toss it; I would wait for it to go bad so I could throw it away guilt free...but like most root vegetables, it keeps for a very long time in the refrigerator. Who knew there was something hidden in that ball of roots worth cooking?
*My readers knew, that's who. I asked for celery root suggestions last year, and you responded with a bunch of great ideas.
Celery root, or celeriac, is exactly what the name says - the root a celery plant. It's not the root of the green stalks I think of as celery; celeriac is a separate variety, grown just for the big bulb of a root.
Celery root puree is similar to mashed potatoes. It has a hint of green celery flavor to go with the creamy, buttery mash. All the recipes I saw include potato with the celery root, in about a 2 to 1 celeriac to potato ratio. I don't know why they add the potato; the starchy celery root seems to act like a potato on its own. But, I always get a pile of potatoes in my CSA along with the celery root. Using some of the potatoes up with the celery root is fine with me. I have a feeling that I'm not the only one, and that's why potatoes are in all the recipes...
Recipe: Celery Root Puree
Adapted From: Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table
Cooking time: 40 minutes
- 2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
- 1 (12 ounce) potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon plus 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
1. Boil the celery root and potatoes:
Put the celery root, potatoes, water, milk, and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes, or until the celery root is tender.
2. Puree the celery root and potatoes:
Reserve 1 cup of the liquid from the pot, then drain the vegetables. Put the vegetables back into the pot, add the butter, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and the cup of reserved cooking liquid, and puree with a stick blender. (Or, put everything in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.) Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Boil-overs and milk: I use a nonstick sauce pan when I make this recipe; it helps with boil-overs. The milk bubbles have a hard time getting a grip on the sides of the nonstick pan, making it hard for them to build up enough to boil over onto the stove. If you use a regular pan, keep an eye on it while bringing it to a boil.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas for celeriac? Leave them in the comments section below.
Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table
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