Herbed Potato and Celery Root Puree
Also known as celeriac, celery root is a knobby, round winter vegetable that contributes a subtle celery flavor to purees when cooked and a crisp crunch to salads when used raw. In this recipe, celery root is mashed with potatoes, giving the dish a lighter texture than if potatoes alone were used, and an interesting, fresh taste that matches well with full-flavored foods such as roast turkey. Both peeled celery root and potatoes discolor quickly when exposed to air and should be immersed in water if not cooked at once to prevent discoloring.
- 2 large celery roots, about 2 lb. (1 kg) total, peeled and cut into slices 1 inch (2.5 cm)
- 2 1/2 lb. (1.25 kg) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into slices 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./185 ml) half-and-half
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
- Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Put the celery roots and potatoes in separate large saucepans. Add water to cover and a large pinch of kosher salt to each pan. Bring both to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Just before they are done, place an ovenproof serving bowl in a 200°F (95°C) oven. (There is no need to preheat the oven.)
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the half-and-half and 2 Tbs. of the butter and heat until the butter melts. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm. Drain the potatoes and celery root, then return them to one of the large saucepans and set over medium-low heat; shake the pan until the vegetables begin to stick to the bottom. Remove from the heat.
Pass the vegetables through a ricer into the warmed serving bowl. Alternatively, pass the vegetables through a food mill, or mash them in the pan with a potato masher. Stir in the warm half-and-half mixture. Season with kosher salt and white pepper. Fold in chopped herbs. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and swirl the top of the puree. Top with the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and serve immediately. If necessary, keep warm in a 200°F (95°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or cover the bowl and set it in a pan of hot water. Serves 8 to 10.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Christmas, by Carolyn Miller (Simon & Schuster, 2003)