Celery Root Puree is creamy, dreamy and better than mashed potatoes!
(Many, many thanks to OXO for the complimentary Oxo On® Bright Illuminating Digital Immersion Blender! Included here is a review of the product. All opinions are my own.)
This creamy, dreamy celery root puree has been proclaimed “Better than mashed potatoes!” by my clients. My brother refused to believe this was not mashed potatoes!
If you’ve never tried celery root (aka celeriac) because the gnarly appearance looked intimidating, this simply elegant side dish will get you hooked. I’ve prepared it numerous times for clients and they all say, “OMG, that is better than mashed potatoes!”
Celeriac is the root of a plant that is a close relative to common celery. The root has a delicate celery flavor, however, the flavor of the leafy top is more potent than common celery.
Whereas celery itself is relatively inexpensive, celery root can be pricey–up to $4 and $5 per pound. Having stalks and leaves still attached is a fortunate find; they are edible and can be repurposed. The stalks can be used to flavor stocks and the leaves used in salads or can be chopped and used as a garnish–much like parsley.
You may be able to find large celery root and purchase just one for this recipe, however, I prefer to use three to four smaller ones. I’ve found large roots to be more fibrous and the fibers don’t break down when cooked.
Give celery root a good scrub before peeling as soil may be embedded in the crevices. As you peel, be careful to remove as little of the gnarly outside as possible, because…..did I mention?…..it’s about $4 to $5 per pound. Use a good sharp paring knife to carve out any crevices that still contain peel to produce a beautiful, clean piece to work with. (I always give the flesh one more rinse before cutting into cubes.)
Not so intimidating anymore!
After simmering the celery root with onion and garlic in chicken broth until tender (which only takes about 20 minutes), here comes the fun part–turning this combination into a beautiful, silky-smooth puree! The easiest way to do this is with an immersion blender.
I first began using immersion blenders about 20 years ago. I remember this well because I registered for one when my husband and I got married. Over the years, I’ve used numerous brands including a high-end brand. In my personal chef business, I can’t function without one.
The beauty of an immersion blender is you don’t have to transfer hot liquids such as soup to a food processor or blender–you can puree right in the pot! Besides soup, I use an immersion blender to make salad dressings, smooth out sauces and for side dishes like this celery root puree.
I was impressed with the solid construction of the Oxo On® Bright Illuminating Digital Immersion Blender as soon as I took it out of the box. The soft, non-slip handle is comfortable in your hand. There’s a nice wide power button made of the same soft, non-slip material for safe, controlled use, six speeds with backlit power display and two more absolutely GENIUS features:
- LED headlight to easily monitor consistency
- Nylon head that won’t scratch non-stick surfaces
What an awesome gift for someone this holiday season!
One thing that annoys me about small hand-held appliances is THE CORD. Because I use them so frequently in my business, the flat cord that is typically on a small hand-held appliance tends to get curled and twisted which then becomes a project to uncurl and untwist. The Oxo On® immersion blender has a thick round cord that resists curling and twisting.
After pureeing the celery root/onion/garlic combination, I use one more Oxo® product to put this veggie puree over the top!
Because celery root can be pricey, I often add a Russet potato or two to the celery root-onion-garlic combination to make it go a bit farther if my clients are not carb-conscious. However, one problem I would always run into when I included the potato in that combination was the puree turned out gummy. You can’t process cooked potatoes too much because the starch molecules rupture and take over.
My solution to this problem is to cook the potato separately, then run it through my Oxo® potato ricer and gently fold it into the puree. The result is beautifully fluffy instead of gummy. Yay!
There’s one little safety tip you should always be aware of when using immersion blenders. If you ever need to clear the blades and think it would be easy to just use your finger, UNPLUG IT FIRST. No, seriously…….been there, done that! Somehow my other hand accidentally hit the “on” switch!
Celery Root Puree is also freezer-friendly. When thawed, it may be “soupy.” Simply heat uncovered in the oven and the excess moisture will evaporate.
Celery root (aka celeriac) puree is creamy, dreamy and better than mashed potatoes!
- 2 pounds celery root (about 3 medium without stalks and leaves), peeled and cubed
- 1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 8 whole cloves garlic, peeled
- Chicken broth (or stock) to cover (2-3 cups)
- 1 large Russet potato, peeled and cubed
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened), plus more for topping if desired
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Chopped fresh celery leaves or parsley, for garnish
Combine celery root, onion, garlic and chicken broth/stock in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until celery root is very tender.
Meanwhile, cook the potato in a separate saucepan in salted water until tender.
When celery root is fully cooked, drain off excess chicken broth/stock (reserve for another use if desired), leaving about 1/4 cup broth/stock in the saucepan with vegetables. Add the butter and cream. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.
Drain the potato. Push through a potato ricer into the puree and gently fold it into the puree. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Garnish with chopped fresh celery leaves or parsley and extra butter if desired.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY: Cool and freeze up to 3 months. When thawed, it may appear soupy. Heating uncovered in the oven at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes will fix that.