Celeriac, also known as celery root, is a winter vegetable that is easily available here and so it ticks the boxes of seasonal and local. A great way to serve it is as a puree. Now you can make this puree by steaming the celeriac or cooking it sous-vide, but if you roast the celeriac in the oven you can get some nice browning to deepen the flavor. Since I used this as a side for beef short ribs, I thought it would be fitting to use some of the leftover beef fat to cook it with. This beefs up the flavor, or so to speak. But if you’d prefer a vegan or vegetarian version (and I haven’t scared you off with the photo below), then you could easily replace this with olive oil. Celeriac come in various sizes, so adjust the amounts of the other ingredients accordingly. This is a great side dish for the holidays that works with both meat and fish.
celeriac (this one was 600 grams/1.3 lb after peeling and enough for 4 servings as a side dish)
beef fat or olive oil (about 4 Tbps for a celeriac of that size)
boiling water (about 250 ml/1 cup for a celeriac of that size)
salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Start by preheating the oven to 225C/440F. If using beef fat, put it in the oven proof dish you will use for the celeriac and in the oven so that it will melt.
Peel the celeriac and dice it (1 to 1.5 cm or 1/2 inch dice).
Toss the diced celeriac in an oven proof dish with melted beef fat or olive oil.
Roast the celeriac for 15 minutes at 225C/440F. Then take it out of the oven and toss.
Return to the oven until golden brown and tender, about 15 minutes longer for a total roasting time of 30 minutes.
Put the celeriac in a blender together with all of the juices from the oven dish, including the fat.
Add enough boiling water (the beef fat would solidify if you were to use cold water instead) to be able to blend everything into a smooth puree.
Blend until smooth. With a strong blender like a Vitamix, you won’t need to sieve it. The puree can be gently reheated in a pot over low to medium heat (make sure to stir a lot) before serving, if needed.
This parsnip and walnut cake is just right for the season, very tasty and gluten free. To brighten up the woody flavors it includes ground aniseed. The walnuts on top are flavored with maple syrup and a pinch of salt.