Category Archives: Celery Root

Company’s coming.

Standard
Photography by Sam Armocido

Photography by Sam Armocido

It’s Thanksgiving! Family and friends are about to descend for a dinner you have spent days, if not weeks, preparing for. Right about now then, is when it hits you like a quick punch to the gut: those guests are staying for three nights, and you haven’t planned any other meals.

Wednesday night you’ll order pizza, and a bag of bagels covers breakfast. There are turkey sandwiches for lunch on Friday, but what are you going to do that night for dinner?

Let’s face it, you’re exhausted. After getting a 23 pound turkey on the table with stuffing, mashed potatoes and 8 other side dishes – all ready at the same time, you might add – there is no way you are returning to the kitchen to cook another full diner for 10-15 people.

So, make a pot of soup! It actually does get better after a day or two, so you throw it together on Tuesday. With cold weather forecast all week, you can leave it out on the porch, saving plenty of room in the fridge for Thanksgiving dinner groceries. Best of all, it’s Moroccan, which will be a welcome break from the hearty American fare you’ll be eating until Thanksgiving leftovers finally run out.

Now sit back and enjoy a glass of wine. You’ve got a busy week ahead of you.

Moroccan Meatball Soup

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. ground pork*
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp hot Paprika
  • 1 tbs chopped, fresh thyme
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp each cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, cut in a 1/2″ dice
  • 1 bulb celery root, cut in a 1/2″ dice
  • 1 large carrot, cut in a 1/4″ dice
  • 6-8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 pound spinach, chopped
  • Sherry vinegar

*If you are also celebrating Hanukkah this week, leave out the pork and increase your lamb and beef to 3/4 lb. each.

Instructions:

  • In a medium bowl, mix together lamb, pork and beef with egg, paprika and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. To check seasoning, fry a small meatball and taste.
  • Shape mixture into 1” meatballs.
  • Warm 1 tbs olive oil in a 6 quart soup pot placed over medium heat. Fry meatballs in batches until browned. Reserve on paper towels to drain fat.
  • Pour off all but 2 tbs fat from the pot and add onions. Cook 5 minutes until soft.
  • Blend spices with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir into onions and cook 1 minute.
  • Add remaining vegetables to the onions. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add stock and cook until vegetables are fork tender.
  • Return meatballs to pot and cook 5 minutes until heated through.
  • Add spinach and cook until wilted. 2-3 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar.
Advertisements

The root of the problem.

Standard
Photography by Sam Armocido

Photography by Sam Armocido

A beetroot salad, in British television, seems to be shorthand for punishment or penance. However, faced with a spring   season where the calendar had gotten far out ahead of the weather, that’s precisely what we made.

Cold days had prevented the emergence of sweet asparagus or spring onions, so we sat in the test kitchen staring at winter storage celeriac, parsnips, carrots and beetroot. They seemed more suited to a fall roast tossed with thyme than a light spring salad.

Our first decision was to serve them raw, the second was a light poppyseed vinaigrette. Shaving them thin on the smallest side of our box grater eliminated thick , tough shreds  of fibrous root vegetables. With the grater already out, we grated onion rather than dairy to thicken our dressing.

Faced with several vinegars, Sam, part of our #testkitchen crew, selected a mildly acidic, slightly sweet Autumn Apple from Sapore. It was the perfect choice.  Winter never tasted so much like spring.

*Yes, this blog post title is a terrible pun. If one of you had brought me more coffee it could have been avoided.

Sam’s Root Vegetable Slaw

The beets turn the rest of the vegetables a beautiful bright ruby color.

Photography by Sam Armocido

Photography by Sam Armocido

For slaw:

  • 1 cup grated beet
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup grated celery root
  • 1 cup grated parsnip

For dressing:

  • 3 tbs grated onion
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1-2 tbs honey
  • 1/4 cup Autumn Apple* or Sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

*Autumn Apple vinegar is available in DC or online at Sapore. Commonly available cider vinegars tend to be bitter and acidic. Sherry vinegar would be a closer match to the autumn apple.

Directions:

  •  Toss together grated vegetables in a large bowl.
  • Make dressing: whisk together onion, dry mustard, paprika, poppy seeds, honey and Autumn Apple vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Whisk oil into dressing in a thin stream to form a creamy emulsion.
  • Dress slaw and let rest 10-20 minutes before serving to let flavors develop. These vegetables are bold and heavy, so add a little more dressing than you would to fresh greens.
  • Serve topped with grated lemon zest.

Never turn down good advice.

Standard

Celery root is a disturbingly ugly vegetable with tan skin and a gnarly, knobby top. Once the top is cut away and the skin peeled, it reveals creamy, slightly starchy flesh, with the sharp, but delicate flavor of celery. It is generally served roasted, braised or boiled – mostly in purées and soups, like this one that I served at Eastern Market last fall.

Last week, Dan from Agora Farms suggested trying it raw in a coleslaw with poppyseed dressing. I never turn down the advice of someone who knows his produce well enough to check the pH of a melon to see if it’s at the perfect stage of ripeness, so I headed into the kitchen.

The shredded celery root was delicate and easily overpowered by other flavors. Researching poppyseed dressings, I discovered two types: oil-based and mayonnaise or yogurt-based. The lighter-flavored, oil-based option was definitely the right choice. They also contain a lot of sugar, which again sounded overpowering. The milder sweetness and floral notes of honey seemed a better choice, and played perfectly with the herbal flavor of the celery root.

The finished product was fantastic. Definitely a keeper. And remember, Dan gives good advice. In fact, his whole team does. Ask for some this weekend.

Celery Root Slaw

The texture of the raw celery root is a bit grainy when you first prepare it. Give this dish a little time to come together in the fridge – at least a half hour. It is even better made a day ahead.

Ingredients:

For dressing:

  • 3 tbs grated onion
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1-2 tbs honey
  • 1/4 cup Sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil*

For salad:

  • 2 cups grated celery root
  • 1 tbs chopped fennel fronds or tarragon
  • 1 tbs chopped parsley

Directions:

  • Begin dressing: Whisk together onion, mustard, paprika, poppy seeds, honey, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Toss together celery root, parsley, and fennel fronds or tarragon in a medium bowl.
  • Finish dressing:  whisk in oil in a thin, steady stream. It will form a creamy emulsion. Season to taste with salt, and pepper. Adjust vinegar and honey to achieve desired sweetness/acidity.
  • Toss salad with a couple tablespoons of dressing. Add more to taste. The celery root is distinct, but mild and you don’t want to cover up the flavor. Let rest for thirty minutes before serving.

* “Why not olive oil?” you ask, with the derisive scorn we all reserve for evil oils that come in large, plastic bottles. Olive oil is a powerful flavor. Vegetable oil is fairly neutral. Grape seed oil is neutral as well, and would be a great alternative.