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Celery Root and Apple Purée

Celery root is also known as celeriac.

“Cooking watery or fibrous root vegetables like celery roots, turnips, carrots, rutabagas and beets with a little white rice ensures that they will be exceptionally creamy and have a very pure flavor,” writes Sally Schneider in “A New Way to Cook.” “The apples enhance and sweet the vegetables. … This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Do not double or triple the amount of milk, though — use just enough to cover the celery root by 1 1/2 inches.”

Celery Root and Apple Purée

1 pound celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 cups milk (can use low-fat)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided use
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons white rice
2 small Macintosh apples (about 8 ounces), peeled, cored and quartered or 1 small pear, peeled, quartered and cored
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Place the celery root in a medium saucepan, add the milk, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and a grinding or two of pepper, and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Stir in the rice, lower the heat, partially cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the apples and simmer for 10 minutes longer, or until the celery root is very tender. (The milk will curdle, but the curds will be incorporated when the celery root is puréed.) Drain the mixture in a colander set over a bowl; save the cooking liquid.

In a food processor, purée the celery root mixture for 1 to 2 minutes, until perfectly smooth, adding a tablespoon or two of cooking liquid if necessary (Save the remaining flavorful liquid for soup; it can be frozen.) Process for several minutes more, scraping down the sides several times, until you have a fine purée. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add the butter and process to blend.

You can make the purée several hours ahead and reheat it (or keep it warm), stirring frequently in a covered double boiler.

Makes 4 servings.

From “A New Way to Cook” by Sally Schneider

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