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Mix Up Your Mashed Potato Routine with Celery Root Purée

These three uncelebrated root vegetables all make excellent vegetable side dishes, including this recipe celery root puree.

My daughter, Molly, believes there’s no better food in the world than mashed potatoes.

Pillowy, buttery and easy to eat, it’s true that all mashed potatoes–even sweet–play well with meals featuring the big roasts we’re all eating right now and wintery, comfort food meals.

It’s easy to get hooked on mashed potatoes. Especially when the potatoes are heirloom varieties. Still, there’s a whole world of root vegetables that make wonderful purées–one of the beautiful cooking lessons the French have taught us.

During the season when root vegetables have their day in the sun, why limit yourself to just one?

3 more root vegetables to love

These are my top three favorite favorite root vegetables to purée. All of them are uncelebrated, but I think they deserve a special place at the table. All of these vegetables can be prepared just like mashed potatoes:

  • Simmer them in stock or salted water until you can slip a fork in {about 25 minutes}
  • Steam-dry in the pot to remove all the excess water
  • Combine with a Russet potato to lighten the texture
  • Flavor with butter, salt and pepper, cream or sour cream is optional
  • Mash or purée until you get the texture you love
  • Turn leftovers into a creamy vegetable soup

Turnips:

Every Sunday dinner growing up, my grandmother cooked turnips in her pressure cooker until they practically fell apart and then loaded on the butter. I love to mash turnips with brown butter—made simply by heating melted butter until it turns amber colored and smells nutty. I love how the butter takes the edge off the turnips mild bitterness.

Parsnips:

Sweeter than carrots, parsnips are one of the few crops that overwinter here to produce our first spring produce. But I can’t wait that long to use these versatile and mild-flavored roots, that I often mash with mild spices, like toasted and ground coriander, as a counterpoint to their sweetness.

Celery root (aka celeriac):

If you’ve ever traveled to France you’d find this gnarly root vegetable in everything from salad (yes, you can eat this one raw) to soup. I tend to follow the French in flavoring celery root purée very simply using stock, cream, salt and pepper.

simmered celery root and potato in pan

The Best Way to Purée

Molly recently discovered the potato ricer for making the fluffiest mashed potatoes possible. This is the best convenience, since mashing potatoes in a food processor or mixer can make them gummy.

But, with these other root vegetables, there’s no danger in using a food processor, immersion blender or other electric labor-saving tool.

Even when you add in some potato, whir away to get a silken texture for this celery root purée with no worries.

celery root puree

Of course, you can use an old-fashioned masher for a chunkier texture. I just go for smooth, myself.

Hot tip: keep your celery root purée warm

Here’s an easy way to keep your celery root purée–or any other mashed vegetable–warm when you’re entertaining.

Transfer the purée into a metal bowl and set it over a pan of hot or barely simmering water. Press a piece of foil or parchment paper onto the surface of the mash or purée and this will prevent a crust from forming.

keeping puree warm on the stovetop

Now, you can relax, have a sip of wine, knowing that everything will stay warm until you’re ready to serve.

Leftover celery root purée becomes a lovely soup–one of the most popular uses for this root vegetable in European cuisines.

Just add the reserved broth, milk, cream or a combination to get the consistency you like and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

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Celery Root Purée

Bringing in the flavor of celery root with the lightness of mashed potato, this purée is a simple, unassuming side dish. But, it tends to “wow” people who have never experienced celery root before. Serve it in place of mashed potatoes, or on its own with sautéed greens. 
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 111kcal
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pound celery root
  • 1 large Russet potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 3 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock or water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Wash the celery root, then peel it with a sharp vegetable peeler or a knife to remove all of outer layers until there is only the smooth cream-colored flesh. Slice the celery root into slices 1 inch thick and then into cubes.
  • Put the celery root and the potato into a sauce pan. Add the stock, 1 teaspoon of the salt, garlic and bay leaf. Bring the liquid to a boil and then simmer until the celery root and the potato are fork tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Strain the vegetables well (reserve this liquid for soup). Reserve the garlic, but discard the bay leaf. Put the celery root, potatoes, garlic, butter, sour cream, if using, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. 
  • Puree until the mixture is very smooth. Taste for seasoning and either serve immediately or keep warm by transferring the puree into a metal bowl and setting it over a pot of simmering water with foil or parchment paper pressed down onto the surface to prevent drying.

Nutrition

Calories: 111kcal

Updated 11/11/2021

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