It seems to me that the Eat-Don’t-Eat list of foods is in a perpetual state of unrest. One day eggs are bad; the next day they’re good again. I can’t keep up. And, frankly, it gets a little difficult trying. As Heather has often said, “Moderation is the key.” So today, in keeping with the most recent trend, I’m sharing a recipe for replacing the currently big, bad white potato. My vegetable of choice; the celery root. When I brought it home for the first time my daughter said, “What the heck is this? It looks like a mandrake from the Harry Potter movies!” And so this recipe was named.
I’ve found over time that there a very few vegetables that I won’t eat but, this is not true of my family. I tried using cauliflower as a replacement for mashed potatoes, and although I liked it, I heard a resounding “NO!” to that particular substitution. They said it was too grainy, which is true. It’s not the creamy, smoothness you look for in mashed potatoes.
After reading up on a few other ideas, I decided to try celery root. It’s not hard to find; usually in the produce section by the other root vegetables. You will know it instantly because, and don’t tell Mr. Mandrake I said this but, it is UGLY. I don’t know who was the brave soul who tried this vegetable first, but I’m grateful for their ability to see behind its truly rough exterior.
It cooks up exactly the same as a potato, and–when blended with the same ingredients–comes out a luscious, smooth, creamy, altogether perfect replacement to mashed potatoes. And, of course, it’s better for you because of its lower starch content.
Don’t be afraid of the strong celery smell you get when these are cooking. The final flavor is buttery and delicious. Even my husband, who will not let a sliver of celery pass his lips, loves this mash.
1 large or 2 small celery roots
1/4 milk or heavy cream
4 Tbs. butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Peel the celery root completely. it will have deep crevasses of dirt at the base so make sure you remove that. Dice the root into uniform pieces. (This ensures all pieces cook at the same rate and to the same consistency.) Place them in a pot of cold, salted water and bring up to a boil. When they are tender enough to be easily smashed against the side of the pot, they’re ready to mash. This takes about 20-25 minutes.
Drain and place in a food processor. (This root is fibrous, so it calls for the food processor.) Add the milk, butter, and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Serve with the main dish of your choice. For me it was marinated flank steak. Mostly because I liked telling my family they were having Flank Steak with Mandrake!