Better Than Mashed Potatoes Celery Root Purée


Celery root may be one of the homeliest vegetables in season right now, and probably takes the cake for the ugliest vegetable all year round. But this vegetable, which is also known by the name of celeriac, does a tremendous job of adding panache and elegance to creamy soups, salads and purées. With a pat of fresh golden butter and cream, the concentrated flavors of celery can be coaxed and tamed into a sublime nostalgic mashed potato-like concoction - flavors that are familiar but intriguing with hints of parsley and sweet parsnip nuances that will keep guests guessing.




One of my favorite ways to prepare this vegetable is to create a purée, that I personally prefer over traditional mashed potatoes for its light creamy and silky texture and complex herb hints. This purée is excellent served with spicy curry or roasted lamb.

If you are in New York City, celery root is available at Gorzynski Farms and Keith's Farms at the Union Square Farmers Market every Saturdays. Celery root can also be found at most Whole Foods Markets across the country.  To pick a celeriac, choose one that is heavy for its size, and void of any soft spots. Celery is listed among the dirty dozen, the twelve fruits and vegetables that retain the highest level of pesticide residue, so it if you can, it may be worthwhile to seek out a pesticide-free source.

Celery Root Purée
adapted from  Dorie Greenspan Bon Appétit | October 2006
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large celery root (about 1 1/4 pound total), peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 small onion, peeled, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh chives (optional)
Method
  1. Bring milk, water, and salt just to boil in heavy large saucepan over high heat. Add to the pan celery root, potato, and onion; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard cooking liquid.
  2. If you have a hand blender, add the butter to the sauce pan and puree the vegetables. Or if you prefer, combine vegetables and butter in processor and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Top with freshly chopped chives, if desired. 
Serves 4

55 comments:

Liz said...

This is a great alternative for a side dish! And thanks for the advice on how to pick it out and also on ensuring a pesticide-free pick. It looks great here in your photo as well--turning something that is as you say "homely" into something really quite elegant!

cocinadiary said...

This looks so interesting since I've never really tried this root, and I have seen it at my grocery store. Thanks for sharing this great alternative to mashed potatoes.

Nisrine | Dinners and Dreams said...

Christine, this is quite novel and must be better for you than mashed potatoes for sure. I love mashed potatoes so I love the fact that these look like they have a similar consistency.

Mari said...

Hola,

How are you doing?

I love celery root, the first time I tasted it was her in Dominican Republic a couple of years ago. It's delicious.

Victoria said...

I love purees made with different root vegetables, though I've never personally cooked with celery root. I will have to try this out soon.

Megan said...

I've only used celery root once and that was to make a soup, but I think a puree would be excellent as well. Is is quite ugly, isn't it?

~Lisa~ said...

Christine I love this recipe. Its super healthy and flavorful. And I'm so picking some up and pureeing it per your recipe. Hope you're doing well with the pregnancy! Its a special time, enjoy it (=

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I've never tried celery root. You make it sound wonderful, and your puree looks delicious! I will seek it out next time I'm at the farmer's market.

Belinda @zomppa said...

This totally reminds me of when I was living in Manhattan trying to eat locally...winter meant a lot of potatoes and tubers! What can't be good with golden butter?

5 Star Foodie said...

I love celery root, whenever I can get it, the puree is definitely an excellent side dish!

alison said...

celery root is very often used in romanian cuisine,in soup and salad.your mashed celery is a very healthy and tasty dish!

Heavenly Housewife said...

I am ashamed to admit that I once got one of these as part of a CSA basket and had no idea what to do with it. I ended up throwing it out. I love what you did with yours.
*kisses* HH

From the Kitchen said...

I've never prepared celery root. To be honest, it's so ugly I was afraid handling it would cause warts!!!!! However, you have convinced me to give it a try.

Hope all is well.

Best,
Bonnie

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I'm so glad to see by the comments that I'm not the only one who hasn't prepared celery root. Looks like I'm missing something good.
Sam

Stella said...

I always loved celeriac root puree when I worked in restaurants that served it. They did always serve it with meats like lamb and beef too, b/c it's such a light, airy match to a heavier type meal. Yum, Christine!

bunkycooks said...

I agree that it is not something you would naturally be drawn to in the store, but it is very good when you as you have suggested. I also like to mash it with potatoes and combine the two for a milder taste.

nancy at good food matters said...

I must confess that, while I have heard of celeriac, I have never seen the homely vegetable! But, your terrific description has made it very very enticing (plus a Dorie based recipe!) It's fun to make foods that intrigue, get people guessing!

TKW said...

I must admit, I've never cooked with celery root, but you're tempting me! And anything Dorie is good in my opinion!

Gloria said...

Christine this look so good! gloria

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

Yum! I love making cauliflower puree in lieu of mashed potatoes but this is a great alternative!

kat said...

Oh man that is just yummy

Claudia said...

Celery root is definitely the ugliest vegetable known to man! I love it for it's delicate sweet flavor - will definitely be doing this.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I love celery room puree! My SIL serves it with short ribs - delicious! It is an ugly vegetable but beauty is only skin deep ;)

Jen @ Tiny Urban Kitchen said...

Yummm . . I have several of these that I got from my farm share. Was trying to decide what to do with them. This looks simple, delicious, and something I can make with the ingredients I already have at home. Thanks!

Bridgett said...

I've been wanting to try celery root puree for the longest time. You have inspired me to give it a go!

lisa is cooking said...

It's an ugly but lovely all the same kind of vegetable! And, now I'm hoping I can find an organic one soon.

tasteofbeirut said...

Thanks for reminding me of this vegetable that I forget about most of the year! I am used to the celeri remoulade from my days in FRance, which I did not care for that much and have never tried it in a purée form; great idea, I will be sure to add one to the next batch of mashed potatoes!

sweetlife said...

Hello mama!!
unattractive, maybe..delish oh yes, I love celery root, my mom and I puree it also, but use it as a dip with avocado, and salsa kinda weird but yummo!!
sweetlife

ps, how's the tummy? feeling less tired yet? I hope all is well and you are getting enough rest.

Trissa said...

Celeriac is definitely not pretty but oh so delicious. I've had celeriac before in a puree and you are right - took me awhile to figure out what I was eating!

Debinhawaii said...

I need to try to find some here. I have eaten it before but not really cooked with it. ;-) Your puree looks so delicious.

El said...

You have opened my eyes to a new winter vegetable. I had no idea that the homely little thing could be made into such an elegant dish. I will definitely try it!

Erica said...

I didn't try celery root, but I have to try it soon! That looks delicious!

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

I don't have much experience with celery root but I see when is available here to remember this wonderful puree!

Cheers,

Gera

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

Celery root is one of those vegetables that has grown on me over the years... Love your puree. I'll have to pick one up soon!

Kim said...

I just tried celery root for the first time in a Michael Symon recipe and loved it. I'll be sure to pick up another one and try it as a puree.

Unplanned Cooking said...

Still haven't cooked with it, didn't look appetizing in the store but certainly does here :)!

Barbara said...

I stare at that ugly root in the market, wanting to try something with it. And now you've solved the problem! It looks like a super way to serve it. Next trip, I'll get some and surprise the family!

Sarah Naveen said...

Sounds awesome..looks so perfect and yummy!!

Sook said...

I LOVE how you always try and introduce us to something new in every post. I have never tried it before and I would love to! :)

lostpastremembered said...

Ever so good of you to tell people to buy it as fresh as possible.. I did once and it was unpleasant. when it is good and heavy you are so right... delish. Thanks for the great recipe and I love that photo... you did make it look wonderful... a lovely beast!

MaryMoh said...

I think it's also called celeriac. I have always wondered at this very ugly vegetable...wonder how to cook it. Now I know....mash! Looks creamy and nice. Would love to try that . Thanks very much for sharing.

OysterCulture said...

Love celeriac, it is indeed tasty and homely or not it is a standout on the plate. I seek it out anyway I can and your recipe just looks delicious. Now if I can only think of other dishes worthy to share the plate.

skip to malou said...

hmmm this is something I haven't tried before... but now that you've introduced it to me... im intrigued on trying them myself!
Great to be here once again Christine!
Malou

Jennie said...

You're right, celery root doesn't have a lot going for it looks wise, but the taste, however, is awesome. I love to make celeriac gratin. Delicious!

Penny said...

Celery root is going on my list of things to try. Thanks Christine for the tutorial.

Prerna@IndianSimmer said...

Never tried cooking or even tasted a celery root but that recipe looks kind of fool proof :-)
Will give it a try. BTW the veggies over rice next to the puree looks gr8 too!

Diana Bauman said...

What a beautiful post Christine. Simple yet elegant. I've been on the look out for celery root but haven't been able to find a local source. I'll have to head to the market for this one!

Ravenous Couple said...

now celeriac is definitely something new to us...thanks for the intro!

Trix said...

I love celery root! I think it is as delicious as it is ugly. Sometimes it's also nice to put a bit of carrot in with the puree, it lends sweetness. And I wanted to thank you for your supportive comment on my post about my dog. xoxo

Juliana said...

Oh! I never seen this root...but from your description must be good :-) What a great way to substitute potatoes.

Debi (Table Talk) said...

I love the flavor and fragrance of celery root, and what it brings to a side dish of mashed potatoes. So yummy this time of year with something roasted or braised.
You are lucky to have the farmer's market this time of year...for me it's a visit to Whole Foods.

Cocina Savant said...

Why is it some of the most apparently sketchy foods are the tastiest. Whoever first ate an oyster and celery root must have been pretty hungry. But, I sure am glad they did. Great recipe for an under-appreciated vegetable that should get more attention.

Cristina - TeenieCakes said...

What a lovely side. I like the way the celery root looks - all gnarly and imperfect, but interesting with character. I will do a double take the next time I see them in my local markets (although my local mkts are quite boring in the produce dept).

Thank you for introducing me to this vegetable. :)

Magic of Spice said...

What a fantastic idea...I use celery root in soups and salads on occasion, but this would be a perfect side :)

Chuzai Living said...

I have never even heard of celery roots until now! The celery puree looks good. Combination with curry sounds like an impeccable combination. I need to try that. Wait, I don't know if I can find celery root in Jakarta... Hummmmm.