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Celery Root Puree

Tired of serving up the same old mashed potatoes? This celery root puree will bring a smile to your family's face as they bite into their 'taters and get a taste of something new. Ever since I finally gave this gnarled vegetable a try, I am a huge fan. All I can say is try it, you'll like it!

Celery Root Nutrition, Cleaning and Peeling

Celery root, or celeriac as you may know it, is indeed the root portion of the ever so mundane celery stalk. It has some of the same flavor as celery, but the texture is completely different. In France, it is frequently served raw and shredded in a special salad known as céleri rémoulade (you can find a remoulade sauce recipe here) as well as cooked as in the celery root puree recipe given here.

Celery Root, photo by Marion Deveaud

In case you need extra motivation to get you to try it, here are a few quick bits of celery root nutrition:

  • One serving (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) contains 2 grams of dietary fiber and only 40 calories.
  • It is an excellent source of Vitamin C and phosphorous.
  • It is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin B6.

Don't be put off by celery root's unattractive appearance. When I buy this vegetable here in France it still has mud all over it, but you may find celery root already peeled, cleaned and ready to cook. If not, don't bother trying to wash it off, you'll only end up with mud every. First cut off the root ends, then peel, then wash.

Once you have it peeled, you can shred it or cut it into chunks for cooking. You will find some parts of the root to be spongy and even hollow. Cut out these areas. Don't worry about cutting too much away, one celery root has a lot of mass.

This celery root puree is lighter and less sticky then the usual mashed potatoes. Because the potatoes are combined with the celery root, you can use a food processor to mash them. They won't become a gluey mess like potatoes by themselves. However, I highly recommend trying a stainless steel food mill to make this puree. These are very popular in France and give perfect results every time.

Celery Root Puree
Purée de céleri-rave

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 25 min

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound celery root (this is about what one good sized root weighs here in Europe, but you may find only smaller ones)
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper (if you use white pepper, it won't show in the puree)

Directions

  1. Cut off the roots of the celery root, then peel and wash it. Cut it into medium sized chunks (about 4 cm to a side). Peel the potatoes and cut in the same size of chunks.
  2. Place the cut vegetables in a big pot and cover with cold water. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the cooking water.
  3. Bring the vegetables to a low boil on medium heat and cook until tender - about 25 minutes.
  4. Drain the vegetables and puree them using your favorite method (potato masher, food mill, or food processor). Return them to the pot.
  5. Warm the milk in a small pan and blend in the butter, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Mix it into the puree and serve hot.

Celery root puree is a popular accompaniment for duck confit, but serve it up anytime you would mashed potatoes. Maybe with your next holiday bird or with a classic beef Bourguignon recipe.

You can also substitute it for the mashed potatoes in hachis Parmentier, a French hamburger potato casserole.

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