Celeriac -- clue me in, please!
For a long time I've been curious about this ugly root veggie, and when I saw it at the market yesterday I decided it was time to experiment with it. My plan is to put up a big pot of chicken soup today, and although I have a sense that celeriac will enhance it, I don't quite know how to include it. I generally cook my soup with celery, onions, carrots and parsnips. Does the celeriac take the place of celery, or is it used in addition to celery? Also, do I use the celery-like greens that are attached at the top, or do I use only the bulb? What else do I need to know about celeriac? Thanks!
Celeriac, or celery root, has a mild celery like flavor and a slightly starchy texture, similar to potatoes. It's really good, and over overlooked at the supermarket; people just don't know what it is or what to do with it. It's been discussed here at Chow a few times; there was a thread last year that contained ideas for preparation, recipes, etc. See the links below. Your greens can be included in your soup, but I usually puree and cream a soup made with celery root, rather than have it be part of the mirepoix mix. It's also the star player in the classic French Céleri Rémoulade, where the raw root is julienned on a mandoline or with a shredder attachment on a stand mixer or food processor shredder blade, and tossed with a zippy mustard and mayo based dressing for a salad. It's also great when boiled and mashed with potatoes, and makes an outstanding soup with chestnuts. Here are a few related threads with cooking ideas and recipes for the suggestions I mentioned:
This link has decent photos for how to peel the darn thing, along with the salad recipe, but I just use a chef's knife:
I use it as part of the mirepoix, much more interesting than celery IMO. Just cut it up in small dice.
It also makes a great gratin.
I've never used it in soup. My favorite is paired with white potatoes in a creamy gratin--heavenly.
I look for it every time I go to the store (Austin) and its absence is my perennial winter disappointment (the summer disappointment is the search for gooseberries). It is wonderful julienned in any salad and would make an awesome gratin. I love the idea of using it in mirepoix. Inspired. My mother used to slice it, steam it a little, and marinate it in a vinaigrette and use it in a wide variety of salads, some of which also had celery in them.
I use it instead of or along with celery in various stews, beef barley soup and veg soup. I just add it whenever I add the potatoes. It's kind of fun when you don't know if you get a potato or celeriac.