Friday, December 30, 2011

Mashed Celeriac and Potatoes

Meet the celeriac root, the Charlie Brown tree of winter root vegetables.  He has a gnarly body and is covered in brown splotches.  Given his burly demeanor, it only seems fitting I refer to him as a male.  He's also a bit hairy, so that about seals the deal.  Always one to root for the underdog, I picked him up out of curiosity.  Celeriac is not actually the root of celery as one might think, but a close relative.  I learned this when I first inquired about celeriac from a grower at a farmers' market.  It's here I learn the tricks for working the unrecognizable, foreign, and sometimes scary into my meals.  I appreciate the encouragement and can-do-it- attitude that's exchanged with the passing over of a vegetable.  So, on this particular day when having an exchange over celeriac root, I gratefully accepted the tip to mash it with potatoes.  There's a first time for everything. Later that day, I found myself armed with my vegetable peeler, having flashbacks to this day.  It proved to be fairly effortless, as Mr. Celeriac was much more compliant than the cushaw squash.  Once I sliced him open, an ivory flesh appeared.  It reminded me of a potato, so it made sense to combine the two together.  

Celeriac tastes like a milder version of celery, almost nutty in flavor.  It's all the creamy goodness of mashed potatoes with a surprise flavor lingering at the end.  It's as if your mashed potatoes traveled abroad and returned with a French accent, an air of sophistication, and somehow became impeccably chic.  If mashed potatoes could wear a beret, these would be the ones to do it.  Oooh la la.  I used a hand masher because I prefer a more rustic consistency.  And please, don't leave out the shallot.  I beg you.  It's a little extra step that's worth the effort.  Merci beaucoup.  Have a Happy New Year friends.  Enjoy the night.  I'll meet you back here in the New Year with a healthy new recipe to kick it off.

~Mashed Celeriac and Potatoes Recipe~

1 celeriac root, peeled and cut into 2" cubes
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" cubes
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
3 scallions, chopped
sea salt and pepper
1 shallot sliced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Add celeriac root and potatoes to a large pot of water.  Bring to a boil.  While you are waiting, fry the shallot over medium  heat in olive oil until crispy.  It will take just a few minutes.   Cook celeriac and potatoes approximately 20 minutes, until both  are fork tender.  Drain.  Return to pot.  Add in milk, butter, and scallions.  Mash with a hand held masher.  Use your eye.  Based on how large your celeriac and potatoes happen to be, you may need more or less milk depending.  Also, this recipe could easily be adapted to a vegan version.  Just substitute vegetable stock for milk and olive oil for butter.  Once mashed, transfer to a serving bowl.  Top with crispy shallots.  Serves 2 generously, as a side.  


Sue/the view from great island said...

You're braver than I am! I keep passing this guy by, but you've given me the courage to give him a try. By the way your specimen looks a lot prettier than the ones I've been seeing!
Your crispy shallots look amazing.

Miss Makes-a-Lot said...

Hi Stephanie! What a wonderful blog you have here - right up my alley..I've been veg/plant based for a year and I've never felt better! I am so excited to see what comes out of your kitchen. and your photos are great! thanks for stopping by my blog so I could find yours :)

cheers to a great new year!

Amy said...

Haha I love how you write about the root, sounds just like a guy. Sounds interesting though to pair with potatoes--what a nice way to get out of the usual mashed potatoes. Also, the shallots looks soooo good. Happy New Years to you, Stephanie!

Oh! And I love your nail polish. ;)

Jana said...

it looks so yummy and soul-warming!:-)
thanks for your visit+comment, have a good+cozy slip into the new year and a very happy 2012!

Karen | Divine Dinner Party said...

Such a bold recipe! I didn't realize that potatoes and celeriac go well together. The crispy shallots are appetizing. Yummy! Happy New Year!

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

Love this recipe - delicious -- I think celeriac is so under used. Please do email me and let me know your address so I can send off your cookbook from my giveaway. All the best for 2012!
mary x

Stephanie said...

Thanks Mary-just sent you an email. Let me know if you don't get it for some reason. Happy New Year!

Clair said...

I love the variety of produce you post...things I've never made before! This looks delicious.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. I hope you'll give celeriac a try. You're right Mary, it is underused. Thanks Clair, I'm always on the hunt for new things!

Adrienne said...

I haven't cooked celeriac yet, so this is very tempting! Glad to find your blog too :)