Posts Tagged celery root

VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Mushrooms

My second ingredient for Flavor Bible Week is mushrooms, specifically shiitakes, from page 228.  The flavor matches that jumped out at me were bacon, celery root, lemongrass, onion and soy sauce.  Another flavor match listed was soup, so that is what I made.

If you’ve never cooked with celery root (aka celeriac), give it a try!  Once you get past the nubby exterior it’s easy to work with.  Celery root lives up to its name; it tastes like celery but feels like a root vegetable.

Celeriac & Caramelized Onion Soup with Lemon grass and Shiitake Bacon

The lemon grass and onion highlight the creamy celeriac soup, while the shiitake bacon is the real star.  This recipe gives you enough mushrooms to have a piece with almost every bite.  The shiitake bacon method is borrowed from the Bauman College cookbook.

1 Tbs olive oil
large sweet onion, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 lbs celeriac, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
4 cups vegetable broth or water
stalk lemon grass, smashed and cut into 6-inch pieces
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
dash salt, or more to taste
dash ground white pepper
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced very thinly
1 Tbs coconut oil, melted
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbs tamari

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, stir to coat, and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, until caramelized and slightly browned.  Watch to make sure the onions don’t burn or get too dry.
3. Turn up the heat to medium high.  Add the garlic and poultry seasoning and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
4. Add the celeriac, vegetable broth or water and lemon grass.  Cover, turn the heat up and bring to a boil.
5. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer 20 minutes, covered, until celeriac is easily pierced by a fork.
6. Meanwhile, combine the shiitakes, coconut oil, smoked paprika and tamari.  Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping the mushrooms once after 15 minutes.  If smaller pieces start to burn, remove them to a plate as needed.
7. Remove the lemon grass pieces from the pot.  Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches if necessary.  Add the almond milk, salt and white pepper and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
8. Divide the soup among four bowls and top with the mushrooms.  Serve hot.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 288.88
Calories From Fat (26%) 75.72
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.7g 13%
Saturated Fat 3.72g 19%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 526.39mg 22%
Potassium 1281.21mg 37%
Total Carbohydrates 50.92g 17%
Fiber 8.48g 34%
Sugar 8.52g
Protein 7.64g 15%

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VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Chestnuts

I think after planning, cooking, eating and cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner I was just not in the mood to write about food for a day or two.  So, I’m back for the fourth installment of Flavor Bible Week – chestnuts!

I do not believe that I had ever had a chestnut in my life until this week.  I really didn’t know what they were or how to prepare them, so I did a lot of research online to make sure I was treating them correctly.  I had been seeing a lot of chestnut bisques online recently, so I thought a soup would go over well.  I wanted to make the soup uber-delicious in order to use it for a Thanksgiving starter, and the good news is that it turned out really well.  I was inspired by this recipe, as well as the recipe in the Millennium Cookbook, and ended up using eleven flavor matches:  apple cider, bay leaf, “butter”, celery root, “milk”, nutmeg, onions, pepper, sherry, sugar and thyme.  In perusing the flavor matches, I noticed that chestnuts could go with a lot of savory flavors, or a lot of sweet, so I decided on a savory soup with a sweet topping.

First, let’s talk about ingredients.  I know celery root, or celeriac, isn’t a widely used ingredient, but I think it should be!  They’re not very pretty…

…but they’re very tasty.  Celery root is kind of like a mild root vegetable with a celery flavor, and would complement anything that celery normally goes with.  Once you peel away the skin and the nubby parts, you’re left with a white, starchy veggie that is easy to prepare.

Now, the chestnuts.  I was actually hoping to find either jarred or dried chestnuts to make my life easier, but lucky me, I could only find fresh.  So, I looked up instructions and roasted them in the oven.

They cooked up okay, but they were a total pain in the butt to peel.  I think maybe if I had made the cuts larger, the skin could have come off more on its own and the peeling would have been easier.  As it was, it took me about three hours to peel while I was watching The Walking Dead.  Here’s what I ended up with:

Not very pretty, but they sure are tasty.

For the sweet topping, I wanted to make a gastrique.  A gastrique is just a fancy word for a wine/vinegar reduction made with fruit and maybe some sugar.  One of the flavor matches for chestnuts is prunes, which I think are an under appreciated ingredient in general, so I set out for a prune gastrique.  The problem turned out to be that the prunes sucked up all the juice, which I really could have anticipated it I thought about it.  If I had a high-speed blender I could’ve turned it into a puree, but my blender aint that strong.  So, I just accepted that the gastrique didn’t work and scraped out the few drops that I could for my first taste:

While the soup isn’t the prettiest color, it tastes awesome.  It’s creamy yet thick, and subtly flavored with the richness of chestnuts and that hint of celery flavor.  The gastrique added that little touch of sweet and sour which set of the soup perfectly.  To serve on Thanksgiving, I made a reduction of the same ingredients without the prunes, and this turned out good as well.  I probably put too much of the reduction on our Thanksgiving portions – it really only needs a small drizzle so you get the sweetness in a few bites, but not in others.  I promise, it tastes much better than it looks!

Chestnut & Celeriac Soup with Sherry-Cider Reduction

If you’re not into the sweet topping, some thinly sliced, crispy fried mushrooms would be a nice alternative.  If you can’t find fresh chestnuts or don’t want to bother peeling them, use about half the amount of dried chestnuts, or a drained jar of chestnuts.  The soup reheats well, so feel free to make it the day before serving, but I would recommend making the reduction just before service.

2 Tbs Earth Balance
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 leek, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
pinch sea salt
2 celeriac, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
1 lb fresh chestnuts, roasted and peeled
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 quarts vegetable broth
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
dash ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
pinch sea salt
2 Tbs sugar

1. Melt the Earth Balance in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, leek, garlic and pinch of salt and saute for 12-14 minute, until onions are translucent and leeks are soft.
2. Add the celeriac, chestnuts, bay leaf, thyme and vegetable broth.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Uncover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for about 40 minutes, until celeriac is easily pierced with a fork.
3. Meanwhile, make the reduction:  Combine all ingredients (apple cider through sugar) in a small pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the mixture is reduced enough to cling to the bottom of the pot when tilted.  The reduction should drizzle easily off of a spoon.  If you reduce the mixture too much, add a Tablespoon or two of water and stir well to thin.  Remove from the heat when it is the right consistency.
4. Remove soup from the heat and discard bay leaf and thyme sprig.
5. Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches if necessary.  Add the milk and blend until completely smooth.
6. Wipe out the pot if needed, and transfer the soup back to the pot.  Add the nutmeg and white pepper and stir.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
7. Gently reheat the soup and serve warm, topped with a small drizzle of the reduction.

Servings: 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 311.2
Calories From Fat (20%) 60.69
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6.79g 10%
Saturated Fat 1.42g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 231.35mg 10%
Potassium 685.05mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 57.17g 19%
Fiber 2.11g 8%
Sugar 6.85g
Protein 5.67g 11%

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