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Celery Root Makes It Special

November 15, 2000|Abby Mandel

Here are three recipes based on celery root--often called celeriac or celery knob--that are perfect for holiday potlucks.

Celery root tastes like a combination of intense celery and parsley. Any dish made with it becomes more special and delicious. It can be eaten either raw or cooked, as these recipes indicate.

All three dishes travel well and can be made ahead. The soup and puree reheat effortlessly--just let your hostess know ahead of time you'll need the oven or microwave. These recipes can be doubled or tripled for a big potluck crowd or cut in half for two people dining at home.

When buying celery roots, choose those the size of a large apple. They should be firm and solid, without decay or soft spots and with a minimum of knobs and rootlets. The leaves that may remain on the root are inedible. Refrigerate the trimmed root in a plastic bag for no more than five to seven days.

Before using celery root in dishes where it should stay white, slice, dice or shred it as the recipe instructs and then briefly soak the pieces in water mixed with a squirt of fresh lemon juice. This will prevent discoloration.


Celery Root and Apple Soup

Active Work Time: 30 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 50 minutes

This soup is adapted from one served at J. Sheekey's in London. Serve this soup as a first course in any menu, casual or formal. I prefer to use Yukon Gold potatoes.

2 tablespoons butter

2 onions, sliced

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 celery roots, peeled and sliced

1 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled and sliced

2 small boiling potatoes, peeled and sliced

3 tablespoons whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Freshly ground white pepper

* Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 6 minutes. Add broth, celery roots, apple and potatoes. Bring to boil. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are very soft, about 20 minutes. Pour through sieve, reserving vegetables and liquid.

* Transfer vegetables and 1 cup liquid to blender, in batches if necessary. Process until pureed. Add remaining liquid and whipping cream, sugar, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Process until as smooth as possible, at least 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasoning. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen in airtight plastic container up to 1 month. To serve, gently reheat soup. If too thick, thin with water.) Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot.

6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings: 295 calories; 539 mg sodium; 15 mg cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 57 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 4.23 grams fiber.

Celery Root Puree With Potatoes, Garlic and Squash

Active Work Time: 30 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour

This is a good accompaniment to poultry, game, fish and meat dishes.

2 celery roots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

6 large cloves garlic

1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt

1 small butternut squash, peeled, split, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Freshly ground pepper

* Place celery roots, potato, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in large pot. Cover with water and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, until vegetables just start to get tender, about 10 minutes. Add squash. Cook, covered, until all vegetables are very soft, about 25 minutes more.

* Drain vegetables in colander; discard liquid. Transfer vegetables to food processor fitted with metal blade and add remaining salt, butter, nutmeg and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Taste; adjust seasoning. (Can be made a few days ahead and refrigerated, covered airtight. To serve, reheat in microwave oven until hot. Stir, taste and adjust seasonings.)

4 to 6 servings. Each of 6 servings: 99 calories; 586 mg sodium; 10 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 15 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 1.25 grams fiber.

Celery Root 'Slaw' With Pomegranate Seeds and Green Onions

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes plus 8 hours chilling

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper

Hot pepper sauce

1 celery root


Lemon juice

10 small green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Boston or red leaf lettuce leaves, for serving

* Place vinegar, mayonnaise, oil, honey, salt, pepper to taste and dash hot sauce in large bowl. Stir until well mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning.

* Peel then thinly slice celery root into 1 1/2-inch long strips (as you work, place strips in 3 cups water mixed with 2 teaspoons lemon juice to keep it white). Add celery root, onions and pomegranate seeds to bowl. Use your hands to toss salad until well coated with dressing. Refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.

* To serve, stir well and drain off excess liquid. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve chilled, on lettuce lined plate.

3 to 4 servings. Each of 4 servings: 109 calories; 175 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 11 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.45 gram fiber.

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