Is that not truly magnificent? I must admit that, when it arrived from Farm Direct, I was not even sure what it was, it was so enormous – and so muddy…. But a celeriac it surely was and, in due course, it got turned into a fine selection of celeriac-based dishes.
I feel that celeriac is a much undervalued vegetable in the UK – although not by those who are allergic to it! I hadn’t actually realised how trying an allergy to celery was until I spent a couple of nights checking out restaurant menus with FM’s allergy diarist, Ruth Holroyd last year at the FDIN seminars. The chef at the venue (Staverton Park just outside Daventry) was being very helpful and had tried really hard to accommodate all of Ruth’s allergies, but each time we got caught out by the celery. In the stock, was the most irritating. Everything else in the dish, perfect but all ruined by a tiny bit of celery in the stock! God help Ruth if she tries travelling in Italy where celery is an essential ingredient in the ‘soffrito’ or mirepoix of vegetables which is the starting point for so many Italian dishes.
Anyhow, assuming that you are allergic to neither celery nor celeriac, I thought I would take the opportunity to point you in the direction of some of my favourite celeriac recipes – all freefrom gluten, wheat, dairy, soya etc – of course! So, to get you going:
½ a medium sized celeriac, trimmed and diced
½ a medium size butternut squash, peeled, pipped and diced
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped roughly
500ml / 15floz oat, soya, hemp or nut milk – which ever you can tolerate
900ml/30floz gluten and wheat free vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
generous handful of pine nuts (optional)
Put the celeriac, squash and leeks into a pan with the oat milk and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are totally soft. Purée in a food processor and season to taste with sea salt.
Serve with a good grind of black pepper.
The soup is also excellent with a teaspoon of pine nuts mixed into each bowl as you serve it.
or, if you want to be more adventurous……
Duck breasts with waterchestnuts and redcurrants with celeriac and kale mash