Celeriac: don’t let its looks put you off!
If you’ve ever spotted a knobbly, warty-looking vegetable in the supermarket and wondered what it was – that was probably celeriac! But don’t be put off. You’ll be missing a trick if you don’t try it.
OK, it won’t win any awards for its looks, but Celeriac is a great substitute for potatoes. It can be cooked in many of the same ways as spuds, and is a great alternative if you are watching your waistline or blood sugar, because it is very low in carbohydrate.
Celeriac is a root vegetable from the celery family and has a slightly nutty, milder and sweeter taste. High in vitamins C, K and B6 (its vitamin C content is double that found in the same quantity of celery), it’s also high in fibre as well as potassium, magnesium and manganese.
One little tip: the flesh discolours quite quickly, so as soon as the celeriac has been prepared it should be put into water (with lemon juice added) to keep its colour.
Here are two of my favourite ways to eat celeriac…
CELERIAC & WALNUT GRATIN
1 large Celeriac
2 tbsp Walnut Oil
300ml Vegetable Stock
handful chopped Walnuts
100g Blue Cheese, such as bleu d’Auvergne or Stilton
1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Peel, quarter and very thinly slice the celeriac – this is best done with the slicing blade of a food processor.
2. Toss in the walnut oil, salt and pepper, and spread over a gratin dish.
3. Pour over the stock and bake for 40-45 mins, then sprinkle with the walnuts, crumble over the cheese, then cook for 15 mins until crisp and golden.
CELERIAC & PEAR SOUP
4 Shallots, finely sliced
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
thumb-sized piece Root Ginger, finely chopped
1 Celeriac, about 800g, peeled and roughly chopped
4 ripe Pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1l Vegetable Stock
handful flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan, add the shallots, garlic and ginger and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until softened, but not coloured.
2. Add the celeriac, pears and stock, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the celeriac has softened enough to mash easily.
3. Liquidise the soup in a blender until silky smooth. If using a food processor, whizz until smooth and then sieve it to catch any bits. Season and serve sprinkled with parsley.