Apple, Celery & Celeriac Puree

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Since this will be pureed, there is no need to dice or chop finely. Big chunks are just fine, so long as they can cook evenly and will fit in blender or Magic Bullet.

Heat 3 TBSP of butter (or olive oil for vegan option) at medium low (4 on a 10 point electric dial) in a large stock pot. Add 2 yellow onions and a bunch of celery, all chopped. Add salt and pepper. Cook until the onions have sweat and are translucent.

While that’s cooking, chop up 4 large or 6 small apples. I used some Galas and a Pink Lady. Eating apples, not cooking apples because we are not adding any sugar. Crush and peel 3 cloves of garlic. Add the apples and garlic to the stock pot. Add tsp of thyme. Add salt and pepper. Put the lid on a let cook about five minutes.

Meanwhile peel and chunk the celeriac. Add to the crock pot with 1 quart of vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper.  Bring heat up to medium. When everything is tender, remove from heat and let cool.

After it’s cooled down, puree with an immersion blender, blender or Magic Bullet. Serve hot with a bit of chopped parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds and, if you’re feeling ambitious, some thinly sliced pear grilled on a hot burner. I accidentally spilled enough pumpkins seeds to two servings in this picture. They were delicious, though.

The soup is a smooth, mildly tart puree with a delicious, rich flavor. There’s a nice bit of bitter heartiness from the celery that is lightened and balanced by the apples, the onions adding some bright notes and of course, celeriac is always delicious.

This makes about 8 servings, but it also tastes better as leftovers. In fact, it’s so much better the next day that I didn’t eat it the day I made it but let it wait overnight. Unlike most celeriac purees, I don’t add any cream so it will keep several days and can also be frozen.

 

 

Apple Celeriac Soup & Bacon-Mushroom Wilted Salad

Apple-Celeriac Soup & Wilted Lettuce Salad

I put 3 TBSP of butter in my sauce pan and added 1/2 of a medium onion, diced into small pieces. I also added 1/4 of a jalapeño, minced. I let them cook until tender – about 10 minutes. Meanwhile I peeled and cut a celeriac into 1 inch cubes. Tossing them in with the onions and chili, I added just enough water to cover them and put a lid on and let them simmer for 20 minutes.  I peeled and cut 2 apples into 1 inch cubes and set aside.  About 10 minutes before serving, I added the apples and put the lid back on. Right before serving, I pureed everything and poured some of the puree into a bowl. The flavor is bright and tart, very fresh and tasty. I found myself finger-licking the container I pureed it in.

For the salad, I cut 2 slices of bacon into small pieces and put in a medium skillet to cook. I diced 1/4 of an onion and added that. After 10 minutes, I added 2 chopped mushrooms and let it cook another 5 minutes. While that was cooking, I chopped up 3 leaves of romaine and put it on a plate to wait for the dressing to be done.  I rolled a lemon on the counter to soften it up, cut it in half and squeeze both halves into the pan, swirled everything around and poured it onto the lettuce and served immediately. The faster the better, because the contrast between the hot salad dressing and the crisp, cool romaine is part of the magic. Adding some garlic in when you add the onions makes it even tastier, but for some reason I completely forgot the garlic – but it was still yummy.

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.