January 15, 2013

Celeriac, a Highly Underrated Vegetable

Celeriac, more commonly referred to as celery root, is a variety of celery that’s grown especially for its crisp, white-fleshed, knobby root, rather than for its stalks and leaves.  Many people view its crude, rough exterior with suspicion and may never give it a try, which makes celeriac a truly underrated vegetable.  However, once the peel is removed, you’ll find flesh that’s nutty, sweet, and full of a delicate celery flavor.  And like other winter-root vegetables, celeriac is hearty and versatile, and can be prepared in so many different ways.  It can be boiled, braised, steamed, roasted, or eaten raw.  Potatoes take on a new character when boiled and mashed with celeriac.  It’s delicious simmered in soups and stews, or baked in gratins.  And it’s wonderful roasted with meats, or shredded for salads and slaws.  Scroll down for a terrific recipe for Celeriac and Apple Mash from our latest book, Meatless, a collection of more than 200 of the very best vegetarian recipes.

CELERIAC AND APPLE MASH

  • 1 3/4 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound celeriac (also called celery root), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 ounce blue cheese (about 2 tablespoons), such as Buttermilk Blue, Danish blue, or Roquefort (see the Guide), plus more for crumbling
  1. Bring stock, water, celeriac, potatoes, apple, shallot, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large pot. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid; discard bay leaf. Return celeriac, potatoes, apple, and shallot to pot, and add 3/4 cup reserved cooking liquid. Coarsely mash with a potato masher.
  2. Using a fork, mash together butter and blue cheese in a small bowl. Stir into celeriac mixture. Season with salt. (Mash can be made up to 1 hour ahead; transfer to a heatproof bowl, cover, and set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally.)
  3. Spoon into a warm serving bowl, and crumble blue cheese over top.