Experimenting with food and trying new ingredients and flavor combinations always gets me excited.There’s something so intriguing, mysterious and thrilling about preparing something for the first time, or trying it out at a restaurant, or a guest, etc. I know it makes some people nervous and they feel much more comfortable eating something that they are familiar with, but not me:). Although familiar and comforting dishes are awesome in their own way and we fall back on them all the time, there is something to be said about bringing a fork to your mouth and not knowing what to expect.
This past year, I tried celery root for the first time. This mysterious ingredient caught my attention easily, with its unique looks. This root vegetable is kind of ugly, with lots of knobs and roots. The color isn’t all that spectacular either, just a boring light tan. It is the root of a celery plant, also known as celeriac. I thought the taste might have some personality to it, since it looks so fierce:).
The first time I tried it prepared with one of my go-to favorite dinners, Roast Chicken. I roasted it with lots of root vegetables – potatoes, carrots and turnips and I decided to add celery root to the mix as well. It was delicious! I kept picking out the celery root, because it was so good. It wasn’t as sharp as I expected it to be, based on my experience with parsnips and turnips. In fact, it’s pretty mild, with just a slight taste of celery and something similar to radish. It has become one of my favorite root vegetables, besides potatoes, of course.
It seemed only natural to prepare the celery root as a puree, but I thought it would have a better texture and more scrumptious flavor with the addition of potatoes. This is a phenomenal and unique side dish, that can be served with many entrees. I recently prepared it with Seared Scallops, and let me tell you, we scraped our plated clean mighty quickly!
1 1/2 lbs celery root
1 1/2 lbs potatoes
3 garlic cloves
2 dry leaves
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
2-4 Tablespoons butter, optional
Fresh herbs, to garnish, optional
By the way, you can prepare this recipe with just celery root and omit the potatoes altogether, just use double the amount of celery root. It will taste absolutely delicious too.
Drain off the liquid, but set aside some of the liquid.
Discard the bay leaf and the garlic cloves.
Place the cooked celery root and potatoes into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
Normally, I would NEVER pulse potatoes in the food processor. That is a big NO-NO, since the potatoes have a lot of starch and become gluey and gross in the food processor. However, for this recipe, we are using half celery root and half potatoes, so the potatoes do not get a chance to get gluey. The celery root really does need to go through the food processor to become a puree and if you use the potato masher, you will have lots of lumps of celery root, since it doesn’t break down and become as soft as the potatoes do.
Pour in some of the reserved cooking liquid, adding as much as you like to have the consistency of puree that you’re looking for. Add more or less, according to your preference. Season with salt and pepper, if it needs it. You can also add a pat of butter, it’s up to you. Garnish with fresh herbs.
- 1½ lbs celery root
- 1½ lbs potatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 dry leaves
- 1½ cups milk
- 1½ cups water
- salt, pepper
- 2-4 Tablespoons butter, optional
- Fresh herbs, to garnish, optional
- Peel the celery root by cutting off the outer skin with a knife. Cut the celery root into small pieces.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into small pieces as well. The potatoes should be slightly larger pieces than the celery root.
- Place the celery root and potatoes into a medium pot. Add the bay leaf and the garlic clove. Pour in the milk and water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot with a lid, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and can be pierced with a fork.
- Drain off the liquid, but set aside some of the liquid.
- Discard the bay leaf and the garlic cloves.
- Place the cooked celery root and potatoes into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Pour in some of the reserved cooking liquid, adding as much as you like to have the consistency of puree that you're looking for. Add more or less, according to your preference.
- Season with salt and pepper, if it needs it. You can also add a pat of butter, it's up to you. Garnish with fresh herbs.