ffwd: go-with-everything celery root purée

Celery Root Puree

I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas holiday! It’s hard to believe Friday has rolled around again already. This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is Go-With-Everything Celery Root Purée, a bland-looking side dish that’s full of surprises.

Remember Hans Christian Andersen’s story of the ugly duckling? Each time I cook with celeriac, I’m reminded of that tale. Celery root isn’t much to look at. It’s knurly with dirt stuck in its multitude of wrinkles. The small supply on offer is usually stashed in an out-of-the-way spot in the market, never proudly on display. Honestly, celeriac looks downright unpromising.

Ugly Duckling of the Vegetable World

Ugly Duckling of the Vegetable World

For this recipe, chunks of celery root, russet potato, and onion are simmered in a mix of milk and water. I have to say that it looked sort of revolting as the vegetables cooked. I’m not sure whether the milk is strictly necessary, but I did have it on hand. I’m curious whether anyone else cooked their vegetables in all water or a broth and water mix instead.

Once the vegetables are tender, they are drained then pureed in the food processor. Chunks of butter are added to finish the puree before seasoning with salt and white pepper.

Pureeing celery root in my brand new food processor

Pureeing celery root in my brand new food processor

This was the first recipe I made in my new Cuisinart. My original Cuisinart, which I’ve had for over 25 years, has been failing. I don’t like to be so attached to an inanimate object, but after we’ve made hundreds (thousands?) of recipes together, the parting is sad. I suspect you understand.

That ugly duckling celery root was transformed into a beautiful swan. The end result is a gorgeous bowl of what appears to be smooth mashed potatoes. A bite reveals something else entirely. The celeriac adds more than a hint of celery flavor for a most interesting side that goes with everything.

What did it go with at my house? I made a beef stew with a variety of root vegetables (more on that later this weekend). I served the stew over the celery root puree in wide shallow bowls for a satisfying meal on a cold winter’s night.


I don’t cook with celery root often, but each time I do, I think I should make a point of using it more.

I’m looking forward to reading about what my fellow FFwD bloggers thought about this week’s recipe. Check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie.

You can find this recipe online here, courtesy of WHYY, creator of one of my favorite public radio shows Fresh Air with Terry Gross. You can also find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

I wish you all a Happy New Year! And for my Dorista friends, I look forward to continue cooking with you in 2013!


Posted on 28 December 2012, in French Fridays with Dorie, Winter and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Ah – you reminded me of shopping for this… They store it on the top shelf – under the rutabagas. I tried to gently pull one out, but ended with a topple. The poor stock boy had about ten rutabagas come flying at him. :-(
    I hope you enjoy your new processor. I think you might find at least a couple of us are well-attached to our appliances… There’s a history, you know…
    I wish you both a safe and Happy New Year!

  2. Great comparison celery root is the ugly duckling of the tuber family. Happy New Year.

  3. It certainly is an ugly little thing but I would probably eat it smothered with that yuumy-looking beef stew….probably. I chickened out and made a recipe that I missed – gougeres!

  4. I am glad you enjoyed this, and stew was a perfect pairing. Happy New Year!

  5. This was my first time cooking with celery root and I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. Happy New Year!!!

  6. This turned out to be quite good, easy to make and goes with anything. Hope you
    have a Happy New Year.

  7. I was surprised at how good this was as well. It would be wonderful with stew!

  8. I really enjoyed this one and was quite surprised at how good it was! Your stew looks like a perfect accompaniment for this dish. Happy New Year, Betsy!!

  9. How do you like your new Cuisinart? I keep debating. Mine is about the same age as your old one. I bought a new one for my Mom a few years ago, and I still haven’t bonded with it yet – I’m afraid! :)

    Glad you loved the dish. I’m sure it would have been great with a stew – it looks delicious.

    Happy New Year!

    • I think I like the new Cuisinart. The new one is about the same size (11 cups to the old 10 cups). I was thrilled that my specialty blades fit the new machine. The machine doesn’t seem quite as sturdy (built to last) as the old one, but that is probably true for most things these days. They’ve changed the design of the feeder tube after all these years, but the new design is easier to clear. All in all, I’m adjusting, but hope we bond and have 25 (or more) productive years together. :) My advice is not to get a new one unless you feel the old one is about to break or you are trading up in size. Good luck deciding, and Happy New Year!

  10. I admit, the puree did go rather well with a braised beef dish. But it just isn’t something I’d like to make again. The texture was great, but I just can’t handle the celery flavor. Well, at least yours looks tasty! Happy New Year to you, Betsy!

  11. Betsy, what a wonderful sounding combination of Celery Root Puree served over a nice Vegetable Stew – sounds like pure comfort food to me! And I do love your very pretty serving dish in the first picture! I would like to take the opportunity to send you and your family the very best wishes for the new year!

  12. Yes, beef stew over this – that’s what I did, too. Perfect winter meal. I have an old Cuisinart that I was given by my friend’s parents and I’ll mourn it when it’s done, too. it’s partly memories, but also trying to get the most out of the appliances I have. So, not frivolous to feel that way at all.

    Happy New Year!

  13. You actually like this recipe, huh, Betsy? I did also. After reading your and Diane’s Posts, I don’t think this needs to be simmered in boiled milk either. I do think that we Doristas came down a little heavy on the physical appearance of this rather raunchy-looking root. Not pretty but I think it’s a tasty, low-in-calories nutritious substitute for mashed potatoes, especially with a Stew like yours. You served it with exactly the right main dish. Looked good. Happy New Year, my friend. I look forward to “administrating” with you in 2013. (I don’t think that’s even a word!)

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