Celeriac, also known as celery root, is the darling of French cuisine. You may find it tucked under Coq au Vin as a buttery puree at the Rendezvous Bistro, or as a little torpedo on your plate at a fancy French restaurant.
Alan Luther, straight from the Cordon Bleu in Paris, where he earned a Certificate in Cuisine, generously demonstrated how to prepare a celery root puree, and many, many other dishes, to a hungry group of cooking enthusiasts.
Lovely to look at, delicious to eat, and so easy. Easy-peasy, as Elly would say.
By the way, if you are cooking for your sweetie this Valentine's Day, and he or she is a meat-and-potatoes enthusiast, the recipe for Short Ribs of Beef in Red Wine and Port would be the perfect entree, served with celery root puree, of course. And maybe some of those French green beans if you have the energy. Look for the recipe in my next post.
Celery root puree (Puree de Celeri-Rave)
I also used a food processor instead of a food mill (don't have one of those!), which worked fine, but be careful not to over-process the puree, or you'll end up with a gummy dish.
My version was inspired by Dorie Greenspan's recipe for "go-with-everything celery root puree", in her book Around My French Table.
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 cups water
- 1 Tbsp. salt, for boiling, and more for seasoning
- 2 celery roots, about 1 1/4 lbs each (without the attached celery), cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 large Idaho potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
- dash of nutmeg (optional)
- snipped fresh chives, or pistachio oil for garnish (optional)
- Warm the milk, water, and 1 Tbsp. salt to almost boiling in a large pot.
- Add the celery root, onion, and potato, and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are easily pierced with a fork.
- Drain, reserving some liquid to thin the puree if necessary.
- Puree the vegetables in a food processor with the butter until perfectly smooth, but not so much to make them gummy.
- Taste. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg (if using).
- Puree a bit more. Taste. Add more seasoning or butter if needed. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid to thin to desired consistency.
- Keep warm until serving time. Drizzle with pistachio oil, or top with chopped chives, if you wish.