Recently I was looking for a side dish recipe that would soak up a yummy sauce. I wanted to do something different, something other than mashed potatoes, rice, or quinoa. I remembered being very intrigued when I saw the Barefoot Contessa make a celery root puree on a Thanksgiving episode. I did a quick search and found the recipe in one of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. After reading through it I decided to give it a try, even though I had never purchased celery root in my life.
Let’s just talk about celery root (or celeriac) for a moment. It is ugly. It is all knobby and funny looking. I was a little intimidated when I brought it home. Once I went at it with a peeler it started to resemble something I would want to eat. The texture is a bit softer than a potato and it has a slight celery flavor, but it pretty much takes on the flavor of other ingredients. Where celeriac really shines is in the nutritional department. It has less than half the calories of a potato and a third of the carbohydrates, but the same amount of fiber, which makes it a great substitute for potatoes.
This recipe combines celery root with fennel, apples, apple cider and potatoes. The flavor is slightly sweet and really satisfying.
The Perfect Pairing for this puree is a good peeler. Peeling the celery root takes some time and you also have to peel the potatoes and apples. You are going to want a high quality peeler for this recipe or your hand will be suffering. I really like the OXO hand peeler.