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Christmas with Celeriac: I hate Celery but…

by on December 21, 2009
 

…I love Celeriac!

Serious. Weird right?

How can I adore Celeriac and not worship Celery? Quite easily. I hate the lingering oniony smell with celery and the strong after taste…and though Celeriac has the same smell, it is a much lighter fragrance with a less powerful smell. Plus it hints at Celery but rather than crunch, has warmth and whole-heartedness at its core!

3 top celeriac facts

  1. It is a big, fat, ugly bulb, often the size of a grapefruit……and I’m glad I can vent on a veggie that can’ react!
  2. Cousin to celery, it actually comes with a bunch of celery leaves, though the stalks are not as tight as your regular celery bouquet.
  3. When peeled, the flesh can change colour if not ‘acidulated’ – lemon helps keep it looking ‘young’.

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The first time I bought Celeriac, I spent an entire weekend cooking it in different ways

Recipe #1 – Celeriac and Apple remoulade with toasted french bread a la baguette slices and salt-baked sardines

Recipe #2 – Celeriac mash with red wine poached pears and venison

Recipe #3 – Celeriac soup with bacon,carrots and onions (using the leftover mash)

Here they are in all their glory.’

Cook’s tip – use a vegetable peeler to rid the white flesh of its knobbly skin and finish off with a knife.

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Recipe #1 – Celeriac and Apple remoulade with toasted french bread a la baguette slices and salt-baked sardines

I first saw recipes for remoulade in the October edition of  delicious. But that was after I bought the Celeriac…so I was in 7th heaven. Now while I love mustard, I’m careful with using it. I love it in a soup and sometimes in sarnies. Anyhow, the idea of adding apples to the original recipe was simple – I wanted sweet and crunch to balance the ‘tart’ and hot from the mustard and so I included them. I must confess that this is one of my favourite recipes, ever. Now while I’m using remoulade as the ‘descriptor’ for this salad, remoulade often appears as a condiment, as I saw in Copenhagen, last weekend. Whatever it is called, it is super delish….

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Tips

You can make it ahead,in fact it tastes better made ahead

You can jazz it up – I’ve recently seen a recipe where it was served, wrapped in Parma ham!

You can eat it any time of day. So what’s not to heart?

Forgive the photos (late night, no Lowel Ego lights…yet….)

Ingredients

Serves 2 (or 4)

1 Lemon, halved and juiced
1/2 a celeriac (about 200g)
2 sweet, crunchy eating apples
6 teaspoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons creme fraiche
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
To serve: slices of toasted, buttered baguette and fresh or tinned sardines
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon slices to garnish

How to enjoy celeriac remoulade in 8 easy steps!

1. Put Lemon juice in a bowl
2. Peel the celeriac with a vegetable peeler or a knife. Do the same for the apples.
3. Wash and then slice both the celeriac and apples into thin slices. Cut each slice into matchsticks and toss in the lemon juice

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4. Combine the mayonnaise, cream fraiche and mustard and add to the celeriac-apple mix

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5. Season to taste
6. Serve right away if you like or leave to ‘bloom’ in the refrigerator for a few hours
7. Serve with sardines (from a tin) and slices of buttered and toasted baguette
8. Enjoy!

Recipe #2 – Celeriac mash with red wine poached pears and venison

I get addicted to things. Right now, it isn’t a very long list. Only 2 items: red wine poached pears and Turkish yoghurt with ginger jam and almonds. And a few other things but let this two reign supreme, for now…in my fickle stomach! The decision to serve the pears with venison was a no-brainer. I know poached pears and game are a perfect match. I needed a smooth, easy-flavoured ‘carb’ to go with both, one which would allow both shine – enter celeriac and potato mash. Nice and easy. No fuss, no stress, taste good.

I enjoyed the combination of celeriac and potato, especially because celeriac has a bit of a ‘light & watery’ taste on its own. Combining it with potato gives it some body and rounds off the taste nicely.

Red wine poached pears with venison and celeriac mash

Ingredients

Serves 2 – 4

200g potatoes, peeled, washed and cubed
1/2 a celeriac (about 200g), peeled, washed and cubed
1 – 2 tablespoons of butter
1- 2 tablespoons of milk/cream
Salt and black pepper to season

How to

1. Put potatoes in a pan, salt and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then turn down and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
2. Add celeriac cubes and let cook together till both are cooked. Test by poking with a sharp-tipped knife – it should slip through easily.
3. Drain water off and leave pan open for a couple of minutes to ‘air’, so the potatoes and celeriac dry a bit.

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4. Using a ricer/masher, pass potato-celeriac through in small amounts, into a pan/bowl till you’re done.
5. Add butter and milk/cream to the mash and stir well together. Season to taste.

IMG_68536. Serve with some red wine poached pears (which can be made days ahead), some quickly cooked venison steaks and a light onion jus.

IMG_68617. So….you shouldn’t have leftover mash (because it is so yummy) but if you do…..worry not, recipe #3 will take care of that

IMG_6884Recipe #3 – Celeriac soup with bacon,carrots and onions (using the leftover mash)

IMG_7432Ingredients

Serves 2 – 4

1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 small carrots, peeled and chopped
125g bacon bits, desalted
Leftover celeriac mash (about 1 cup)
50ml cream
About 150ml water
Salt and black pepper to season
Chives to garnish

How to

  1. Heat butter in a pan till melted.
  2. Add onion and carrots to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the bacon. Let cook together for 2-3 minutes, stirring well.
  3. Add the leftover mash, cream and water and bring up to a simmer. Stir well.
  4. Check for seasoning and when hot, ladle in to mugs/soup bowls.
  5. Warming and nutritious and perfect use for meal ‘remains’….especially with some bread!

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Try celeriac, my food hero this season….you won’t regret it, except you hate it more than celery!!!!!

And just in case you’re wandering, the Christmas markets in Cologne were lovely – the 2 we visited. Sneak a preview now.

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comments
 
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  • Mina
    December 30, 2009 at 3:57 AM

    This is one of our great discoveries this year too! We like them with our mashed potatoes.

    Reply

  • December 24, 2009 at 3:31 AM

    The remoulade reminds me of an Alice Waters recipe I made once. Can’t wait to try the soup. It looks delicious!

    Reply

  • December 22, 2009 at 11:17 PM

    Giao, enjoy it. I am looking forward to your version.

    Conor, you’re welcome. Lowel Ego…..someday soon and glad you enjoyed the post

    Elise. Apt words – ugly duckling…so many phrases to apply but you’re right it has a fantastic light flavour. Oh potage – I love to make one with yam and spinach!

    Reply

  • December 22, 2009 at 5:05 PM

    Celeriac is a case of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. It’s probably one of the ugliest vegetables but it tastes so mild yet has a little bite. I like to make a potage with celeriac and spanish, very good!

    Reply

  • December 22, 2009 at 4:28 PM

    Firstly, thanks for visiting my blog and I’m glad to have found yours!

    Secondly, I love celeriac but know little about it, so this is a really useful post for me.

    Thirdly, *sigh* about the lack of Lowel Ego lights. I’m wishing that a miraculous CHristmas miracle will somehow cause me to receive some, but I know that this definitely is not going to happen. Guess I just need to save my pennies!

    Reply

  • giao
    December 22, 2009 at 5:39 AM

    i JUST was thinking of trying celeriac soup. now i have even more options. thank you thank you!

    Reply

  • December 22, 2009 at 12:40 AM

    Kate and Trissa, the Cologne post is up…..enjoy!

    Krista, thanks

    Trisha, of course I believe. Can you believe that I’ve never cooked with figs or had POM juice :-)?

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 11:44 PM

    I have never had celeriac before…. can you believe it? Hmm maybe I have but just didn’t know it…. but the mash here looks soooo good!!!

    Reply

  • Krista
    December 21, 2009 at 11:21 PM

    Oh, I LOVE celeriac! I’ve never done anything with it except mashed with olive oil (YUMMM!), but these recipes look splendid. :-)

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 8:47 PM

    I have to be honest celeriac looks so ugly but ohh so delicious! Thanks for sharing some of your recipes! By the way, am loving the pictures of Cologne!

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 8:39 PM

    Noobcook, Zurin, Shayma – Thanks and have a blessed holiday too. Give celeriac a try if you can, especially since you like celery!

    Hungry neko, Marymoh (you said it right) – scary and grotesque…ugly on the outside but super beautiful and tasty on the inside!

    Sarah…so move it from the back to the front when you do your ‘fridge shuffles :-)

    Little Teochew- thanks. Haute cuisine….wow

    Heavenly housewife, you had me smiling with the last comment. Be assured you’re not the only one guilty of things going to waste!
    Kate…thanks. So,more on Cologne in a few hours….Hope you get to go!

    Kristen- sorry you didn’t get to go to the markets this year! At least you have celeriac close by….and don’t have to travel :-)

    Pixen – great tip, I will try it grated in my next round of experiments. Thank you

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 7:18 PM

    I love it! Even the smell of it made me hungry! 😀 My family usually grated thinly the celery root mixed with mayonaise. I haven’t try make into soup… will try it next time :-) Thank you for the recipe.

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 6:33 PM

    celeriac. That is something I just don’t eat enough of. Thanks for reminding me! Your pics are lovely and are making me real sad that we did not make it to Germany this year for Christmas. I miss the markets.

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    Wow, I love the what you’ve done with the celariac! One time I was given one, I had no idea what to do with it. It got old and died. Bad housewife, bad!

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 11:38 AM

    The day I discovered celeriac was a happy day. I’m a big fan of half-n-half potato and celeriac mash with some wholegrain mustard and capers – though now I see that I am going to have to try that remoulade – seems reminiscent of a waldorf salad, which is another thing I love!

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    Oh la la! You turned a humble veggie into haute cuisine! I love celery, but I have never tried celeriac!

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 10:13 AM

    Celeriac actually look so ugly but I read a lot about its goodness. Shouldn’t judge it by its look, right? I have to give it a try one of these day.

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 9:32 AM

    Well, now, it just so happens that I have 3/4 of a celeriac root in my fridge. And some apples and mayo and mustard. Hmmm…what to have for lunch? Thanks for the recipes!

    I’m dying to hear about the Cologne markets. We didn’t get there this year–the weather has been horrible ever since they opened. I’m hoping to get there late this week or maybe next week. I think they’re open till New years?

    Welcome home.

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    Celeriac are so ugly and whenever I buy one it seems to sit in the fridge forever. Yet I love celeriac remoulade and always buy this in French supermarkets. I ought to give it a fair chance really.

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 6:19 AM

    I wonder if I’d like celeriac (or even find it at the store)…it looks so scary lol. But great recipes to get us exploring!

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 4:48 AM

    Ozoz, I came to your page to wish you a lovely, beautiful Xmas and New Year’s. I am off on hol and wanted to wish you. The photos are beautiful, as always, but I will honestly say I could not give this post the time it deserves as I am in bed now, tired after packing all day. :) Shall catch up on all the posts when I am back in Jan, as we say in Pakistan, inshallah. xx

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 4:34 AM

    I havent tried celeriac altho I love celery. its interesting how you have so many ways to prepare it in one post.Love the photos!

    Here’s wishing you a very merry Christmas to you and your family Ozoz! have a wonderful time. :))

    Reply

  • December 21, 2009 at 3:49 AM

    I love celery but I haven’t tried celeriac b4 … wonder if I’ll like it. Your soup looks good!

    Reply

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