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Celery Root Puree

Celery Root Puree

Celery root was born in the Renaissance, when experimenting gardeners figured out that the little root of wild celery could be encouraged to grow into a large, knobby vegetable with a flavor reminiscent of a mild turnip. Nowadays, in the cool-weather months, French markets are stocked with huge piles of celery roots. Chefs and home cooks alike might add them to a pot-au-feu or use them for making celery root rémoulade or a creamy, earthy puree. For an elegant touch, drizzle a few drops of truffle oil over the puree just before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large celery root, about 2 lb.,
     peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch dice
  • 1 large russet potato, about 6 oz.,
     peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch dice
  • About 3 cups chicken stock or water
  • 4 Tbs. (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbs. heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
  • Truffle oil for drizzling (optional)

Directions:

In a saucepan over high heat, combine the celery root and potato with stock to cover by 1 to 2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-high and cook at a rolling boil until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes, adding more stock if needed to keep the vegetables immersed. Drain the vegetables, reserving the stock for soup or a sauce, if desired. Pass the vegetables through a ricer or a food mill fitted with the fine disk.

Return the puree to the pan, place over very low heat and add the butter, beating it into the hot vegetables with a wooden spoon. Add the cream and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the puree to a serving dish, sprinkle with the chives and drizzle with truffle oil. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World Series, Paris, by Marlena Spieler (Oxmoor House, 2004).