celery root and potato puree


Here’s just a quick something to consider for a side dish this Thanksgiving.  We’re going to Atlanta with Gerrit’s family, where I am in charge of bringing basically whatever I want (in this case, some pumpkin bread and some chocolate pecan pie bars) and contributing the Grand Marnier for the pumpkin pies.  I’m sure I will be charged with more once we get there, but right now I’m just concerned with how to get my baking and packing and laundry done between now and 8:00 tomorrow morning.

If I was, however, in charge of making the actual Thanksgiving meal, I would consider these potatoes.  Not to replace classic mashed potatoes in any way (because oh goodness we need just those pure buttery potatoes that taste like nothing healthy), but rather as an additional side.  Which I mean, let’s be honest, my family isn’t big enough for two potato dishes on Thanksgiving.  But let’s just pretend here for a moment.

Celery root is just about the ugliest vegetable you can possibly find.  And it smells like dirt too, which makes sense considering its basically coated in the stuff.  But once you cut the ugly parts away, there’s this white tender center.  Its texture reminded me of eggplant, but it smells purely like a mild version of celery.  And when you boil it with the potatoes and puree it in with a little half and half and butter, it tastes so much like the comfort of mashed potatoes with just a bit of freshness from the twist of celery root.

A couple of notes: I highly recommend having a food mill for this recipe.  I didn’t.  And I ended up with some tougher parts of the celery root in my potatoes, some parts that wouldn’t quite puree using my mixer and potato masher.  I’d imagine that with a food mill, these rough parts would be left out, creating a much smoother puree.  I also recommend really making sure that your celery root is tender.  I think I drained mine a little too soon (also contributing to those tougher parts).  But once you get those things right, I really think that any potato loving person would love this.

Celery Root and Potato Puree
adapted from Anne Burrell

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

1 1/2 lbs. yukon gold potatoes
1 (1 lb.) celery root
1/2 cup half and half
4 tablespoons butter

1. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes.  Cut away the rough part of the celery root and cut the inside parts into 1 inch pieces.
2. Place the potatoes in a large pot of heavily salted water and bring the water to a boil.  After the potatoes have been boiling for about 5 minutes, add the celery root.  Continue to cook until both the celery root and the potatoes are fork tender.
3. Drain the celery root and potatoes.  Then pass them through a food mill into a large bowl.  Stir in cream and butter and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.

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