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Celeriac -- clue me in, please!

CindyJ Jan 15, 2011 05:41 AM

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!

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  1. bushwickgirl RE: CindyJ Jan 15, 2011 06:08 AM

    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:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/681480
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/737502
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7441...

    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:

    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/04/...

    Enjoy!

    1. m
      magiesmom RE: CindyJ Jan 15, 2011 08:22 AM

      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.

      1. e
        escondido123 RE: CindyJ Jan 15, 2011 08:50 AM

        I've never used it in soup. My favorite is paired with white potatoes in a creamy gratin--heavenly.

        1. tim irvine RE: CindyJ Jan 15, 2011 09:22 AM

          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.

          1. corneygirl RE: CindyJ Jan 15, 2011 09:36 AM

            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.

            1. m
              Madrid RE: CindyJ Jan 15, 2011 09:54 AM

              you've gotten lots of great replies. Be careful peeling it, it's tough and I've cut myself more than once.

              As others have mentioned, it's great with a mustard dressing. My favorite is a salad that seems like too many flavors, but I've served it to different groups with good success.

              Grate/shred celery root in a food processor. Add equal amount of grated/shredded tart green apple, unpeeled. Combine with toasted pecans or walnuts, roasted green beans, arugula or watercress. Dressing: lots of mustard, sherry or pecan vinegar, olive oil with walnut or almond oil, bit of salt, lots of ground pepper. Top with blue cheese chunks.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Madrid
                bushwickgirl RE: Madrid Jan 15, 2011 09:56 AM

                That sounds lovely, I''ll go with the sherry vinegar, bookmarked! Where on earth do you find pecan vinegar? Intriguing.

                1. re: bushwickgirl
                  m
                  Madrid RE: bushwickgirl Jan 15, 2011 10:06 AM

                  check out http://www.cuisineperel.com (a specialty store in my neighborhood carries the spicy pecan vinegar and others at reasonable prices)...but woe is me, seeing the web site, I see many others I now *really* need!

                  1. re: Madrid
                    bushwickgirl RE: Madrid Jan 15, 2011 10:16 AM

                    It goes that way, doesn't it. Now I see stuff I *really* need as well! Thanks! (no, really heartfelt thanks, no sarcasm...) Black fig fruit vinegar, ahhh.

              2. CindyJ RE: CindyJ Jan 15, 2011 10:27 AM

                Thanks to everyone. This has all been very helpful, and the David Lebovitz link was really interesting (in fact, it sent me on a fruitless online search for a Mouli Julienne). I'm kind of intrigued by the fact that celeriac can be used either raw or cooked; I never would have guessed it could be eaten raw.

                For today, what I've decided to do is dice it up and use it in my soup, along with my "usual" mire poix. But I'm going to buy it again and have some fun with it in a remoulard and also mashed with potatoes.

                I did taste it, and I was surprised at how mild it was. Also, I expected more difficulty peeling it -- it was really fairly easy -- muddy, but easy.

                Thanks again! I definitely learned something new today.

                1. c
                  CocoTO RE: CindyJ Jan 15, 2011 10:58 AM

                  I shred it (raw) and use it instead of celery in a Waldorf Salad

                  1. m
                    magnolia RE: CindyJ Jan 15, 2011 12:46 PM

                    I make a three-celery soup. Simmer celeriac, celery, and celery seeds in a good chicken stock with a little butter, a bay leaf, and onion until quite tender. Remove the bay leaf, puree the soup, and finish with cream and salt and pepper to taste. Real winter comfort food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: magnolia
                      operagirl RE: magnolia Jan 15, 2011 02:52 PM

                      Wow, I love that idea. A triple hit of celery. Thanks for sharing!

                    2. Becca Porter RE: CindyJ Jan 15, 2011 03:46 PM

                      My favorite way to use it is in CI's mashed root vegetables. It is sauteed along with potatoes in butter, than braised in broth, and then mashed with dairy. Amazing!

                      I will be trying the Céleri Rémoulade really soon though. Yum!

                      1. chefathome RE: CindyJ Jan 16, 2011 10:53 AM

                        Man, I love celeriac! My favourite uses are to boil in the same pan as potatoes and some garlic then put through a foodmill for celeriac mashed potatoes (of course adding in cream, butter, salt and pepper). Roasting with other veg such as carrots is also another tasty way to use it. As others have mentioned I use it in cream soups.

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                          piccola RE: CindyJ Jan 16, 2011 12:45 PM

                          I love it shredded in slaws. But lately, I've been roasting cubes of celeriac with halved Brussels sprouts and rosemary, then tossing the cooked veg with lemon juice, a little toasted walnut oil and coarse black pepper. You can add toasted walnuts or parmesan shavings, too.

                          1. m
                            mshenna RE: CindyJ Jan 21, 2011 12:30 AM

                            I peel it & cut it in chunks or slices & roast it at around 350 with some (rather larger) chunks of peeled beet, a bit of olive oil, & coarse salt & pepper (& rosemary if I remember) until the outsides are almost leathery & the insides are tender. Used to do a bunch of various root vegetables together, but found that those two went together beautifully & were by far my favorite: the nuttiness of the celery root & the sweetness of the beets.

                            OK, so now I know what I'm eating this weekend. It's been too long.

                            1. k
                              Krislady RE: CindyJ Jan 21, 2011 03:36 AM

                              I recently used some celeriac (along with fennel, apples, potatoes, and plenty of butter) in a version of Ina Garten's celery root and apple puree.

                              I wanted to lick the plate. We froze half of it, and it was just as good reheated the second time around with a pork roast.

                              http://darksideofthefridge.wordpress....

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