How to Make Celeriac Mash
There’s a lot of butter in this.
By Erin Henderson
I knew this dish was a winner when I saw a notoriously picky friend licking the serving spoon.
Don’t worry, she wasn’t going rogue at the dinner table, she was cleaning up from a dinner I prepared for her and a few friends at her lake house in Ontario’s cottage country.
But it was probably the best compliment I have ever received about anything I have ever cooked.
Celeriac, or celery root, as it’s commonly known in Ontario, is literally the root of the crunchy green celery stalks you already know. It’s a fairly ugly bulb – yellowish-brown in colour, knobby, with a tentacle-like end, and often covered in dusty dirt.
It tastes incredible, like a creamy cross between mild celery and sweet parsnip. It works roasted or seared, and is absolutely transcendent as a mash. On its own the structure is a bit weak, so it’s best to fortify the purée with a few potatoes.
This isn’t a tough recipe, but does have a few steps including cooking the potatoes and celeriac separately, which, because of their consistency, I must insist upon.
So yes, it’s an extra step or two over the standard mash – but this also over-delivers from the standard.
Not only is this recipe indulgent for celebratory feasts, but the celeriac also loans a bit of lightness, both in taste and texture, to a rich meal (despite the enormous amounts of butter.)
And, in true TWS ethos, it can be made ahead – an elegant time saver for the over-scheduled host. Simply store well sealed in the fridge, for up to three days, and reheat with a bit more butter and milk to soften back into a smooth puree for serving.
I serve this alongside holiday turkey or my favourite roast chicken.
Makes: about 10 servings
Chef level: moderate
- 2 small or 1 large celery root (roughly 6 cups) peeled and chopped
- 5 large cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2 large yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- ½ cup salted butter
- 1 cup cream
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
How to Make It:
- Into a large pot, add celeriac and garlic. Pour in chicken stock to cover (if you don’t have enough, top up with water until vegetables are covered)
- Add in a knob of butter, a pinch of salt and bring to a boil, then simmer until celeriac is cooked through and soft, about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a separate pot, add the potatoes and a pinch of salt, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook until very soft, about 20-30 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes when ready and push through a ricer into a bowl.
- Drain the celeriac, reserving the stock.
- Return the celeriac and garlic to the pot, adding in about ½ cup of the reserved stock, another knob of butter and a splash of the milk.
- With an immersion blender, puree the celeriac and garlic until smooth.
- Add in the potatoes, stirring to combine with the rest of the butter and about half the milk.
- Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Top with the remaining milk to keep moist and keep over the lowest heat while putting the rest of the dinner together.
- Stir just before serving.
As part of a larger holiday feast, I like to go with fruity reds or creamy whites.
To shake things up a bit from ordinary, look to a richly textured white from the Languedoc in France. Typically blends of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, and Macabeu with notes of stone fruit, mineral and subtle spice.