February 27, 2012

Celery Root w Chickpeas & Saffron

Vegetable #12 for New Year Resolution #2 - Celeriac (aka Celery Root). I picked up one of these at the store this past weekend and quite honestly, everyone at home thought I'd gone nuts. It looked like a dead, shriveled up brain. Yikes!!

Braised Celeriac with Chickpeas
The recipe I used today, Braised Celeriac with Chickpeas & Saffron was out of the recipe archives of Vegetarian Times.  Of course, me being me, I adapted it some. I used vegetable broth instead of olive oil, I used only a fourth of a gram of saffron (as opposed to a whole gram which I though was quite excessive). I didn't use capers or red pepper flakes, and used a half of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder. The other modification I should have made, but didn't this time, was to add salt to the broth before adding the veggies.  Adding it at the end left the insides a tad bland. 

Prep Time: 20-25 minutes

Sure cleans up well!
Cleaning & Prepping CeleriacWe've all heard "beauty is only skin deep" ... well in this case, Ugliness is only skin deep!! There are several videos on youtube.com showing how to clean Celeriac. I used a combination of several. I first rinsed the outside really well under running water to get rid of as much dirt as possible. Cut both ends to make flat bases so that you can hold it flat while shaving off the thin skin. I used a chef's knife to do the coarse shaving and then used a small paring knife to get the little bits/eyes that were left behind. Then, I washed it again, under running water, and then cut it into large chunks for this recipe. It is slightly tougher than an apple, but not as tough as some of the squashes out there. 

My Assessment: I think Celeriac tasted a lot like this vegetable we ate occasionally in India (kadam ka saag) which was also a tuberous vegetable with celery like stalks. Although I'm quite sure they're not quite the same thing, the taste was quite similar. The recipe itself was phenomenal. The sweet smell of Saffron is still on my hands and it blended really well with the Celeriac as well as with the chickpeas. 

I do want to try making Celeriac in the "saag" way (wilted greens), for which I'll have to mix the finely diced tuber with chopped up greens. It'll take a few tried to come up with the winning choice of greens. 

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