Tarragon Chicken Fricassee with Celeriac Purée

Celeriac Puree is one of those foods that most people never try because they think it’s must be complicated, but it’s actually an easy-going, forgiving dish to make that is a perfect cook to impress dish for the cook who doesn’t want to hover. My recipe is perhaps a bit tangier and less creamy than most, but it is also significantly lighter.

  • 1 knob of celeriac or celery root, peeled and chopped into big cubes.
  • 1/4 cup of half and half
  • 1 fresh lemon, juiced
  • 2 quarts of water
Add lemon juice to the water, then the half and half, toss in the celeriac and put on medium heat. Bring to a boil and let cook for 25 minutes or so, until tender. Remove, strain, reserving liquid. Put the chunks into a blender or Magic Bullet® and add back 1 cup of the cooking liquid (more or less) and puree. Add more liquid to get the texture you like. You can add salt and pepper if you like. I like its bright, lemony tartness as is.
With chicken, leeks and mushrooms you can make a fricassee so many different ways, the most difficult thing about cooking it up is deciding which flavor profile to choose. Since celeriac puree is common in French cuisine (though usually made with 4 times as much dairy and whole cream, not half and half) I decided to go with tarragon. Makes 4 servings.
  • 6 oz of cooked chicken (I have this from when I made Chicken Noodle soup the other day)
  • 1/2 leek, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin, just the green end
  • 1/2 celery stalk, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin
  • 6 mushrooms, cut in half and sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp tarragon
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 TBSP pear brandy
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a skillet, adding leeks, celery and tarragon and cook until softened. Add the mushrooms and pear brandy and stir. Add the chicken and 1 TBSP of water and cover. In 3 to 5 minutes, slide everything over to one side of the pan. On the other side add the roux made with butter and flour. Add about 1 cup of water and the mustard and stir. Mix in the with fricassee and cover for a couple minutes. Serve on top of the celeriac puree. Makes 4 servings, just like the celeriac.
I dished up two servings each of puree in two bowls and put the fricassee on top.  I had one for lunch and put a cover on the other for lunch tomorrow.

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