I'm a gal who loves her vegetables. I like them raw, I like them roasted, I like them stir fried, I like them steamed, I even like them boiled. I like 'em bitter, I like 'em sweet, I will pretty much eat 'em all, except for the grass growing on your front lawn. Maybe.
Of course I have my favorites, but there are none I really dislike. Some, however, have been filed away in my brain in the boring category. Celeriac or celery root was one of those. I didn't despise it, I just was not inspired by it, is all. I am not crazy about its mild celery flavor and it is not something I would normally buy, because honestly I wouldn't really know what to do with it.
A while back my vegetarian friend A. made it for me and I
ate about four portions thought "hey, this isn't too bad!" and so when I saw it staring up at me in the fresh vegetable isle at the supermarket last week, I threw it in my cart on an impulse.
Fast forward to a few days later. Me staring at this bizzarre, dirty, huge vegetable sitting on my kitchen table. I knew I had to get rid of it, because it isn't exactly convenient to store. Have you ever tried shoving a soccer ball into your fridge (a European fridge, not a huge American one by the way)?
Out came my Joy of Cooking. The easiest thing to make when you aren't convinced about a vegetable is soup. Even more so when it is raining outside and you happen to be a soup fiend. So, I followed this simple (oh, so simple) recipe and the result just blew me away.
I know, I know, I all too often express my excitement about a new recipe on this blog. I mean, why would I blog about it otherwise? But this soup was truly amazing. I realize my expectations were extremely low and just thinking about eating this soup for lunch made me yawn. And then it smelled like shortbread and cinnamon while it was bubbling away on the stove, seriously, and both my kids ate it without batting an eye. F, who is not a celeriac lover either, had two large helpings (while 'mmmmh'ing to no end) and when I sat at my desk avidly eating microwaved leftovers at work on Monday, a colleague actually asked what that amazing smell was. Do I need to convince you further?
Ok, enough of this ode to celery root. You got the idea.
Let me just give you a little additional information about this root. It is a part of the celery family and can be stored for long periods of time. It can be roasted or used in soups, stews and gratins. It is very poor in starch and calories: about 60kcal per cup. It is a great source of dietary fiber and it contains no cholesterol or fat.
1 medium to large celeriac (approx. 2 pounds)
1 large onion
a large knob of butter
chicken or vegetable stock
a splash of milk
1/4 cup flour
salt if needed
Melt the butter in a large pot and peel and chop your onion and leek. Let them soften in the pot. In the meantime, wash and peel the celeriac with a potato peeler and then dice it. Don't fuss over the chopping, all the vegetables will be blended. When the onions and leek are soft, add in the celery root and let it cook for a few minutes. Sprinkle in the flour on high heat, stir and then pour in the stock until it barely covers the root. Cover the pot and let simmer for approximately a 1/2 hour or until the celeriac is soft. Blend with a hand blender and let cook a while longer, adjusting thickness with a splash of milk or cream. I used milk. Serve with a dusting of pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
I am participating to Labna's Mettere Radici contest with this recipe.