A celebration of celeriac

A true celebration of the humble celeriac and one your vegetarian friends will love you for. This may look like a complex dish but it is made up of several simple elements that you can also use with many other dishes as a garnish to accompany meat or fish or as a side dish. If you can find a celeriac big enough you may be able to make a dinner for four from one celeriac, voila!

Cooking time: 75 minutes

Special equipment: Large saucepan, large frying pan, large sauté pan, blender

Celeriac MAIN

Ingredients Required

For the celeriac choucroute (approx. 50g per portion)
200g Celeriac, cut into 2mm julienne strips on a mandolin
30ml Olive oil, refined
80ml White wine vinegar
2 pinches Sea salt
2 pinches Black pepper, freshly ground
30ml Gin
4 x Juniper berries, crushed and finely chopped
1 Bay leaf
For the celeriac fondant
400g Celeriac, cut across the circumference at 4cm thickness and then cut in half so you have a semi-circular shape
50g Unsalted butter
1 clove Garlic, crushed
1 sprig Thyme
1 sprig Rosemary
50ml Water
For the celeriac purée (approx. 40g per portion)
200g Celeriac, cut into small pieces
10g Unsalted butter
100ml Whole milk
1 pinch Sea salt
1 pinch Cayenne pepper
1 squeeze Lemon juice
For the celeriac jus (approx. 25ml per person)
200g Celeriac, cut into 1 cm pieces, plus any trimmings from the fondant, choucroute or purée
80g Unsalted butter
1 clove Garlic, crushed
1 sprig Thyme
1 Bay leaf
1 sprig Rosemary
20ml White wine vinegar
30ml Madeira
200ml Water, plus the cooking liquor from the fondant
Garnish (optional)
20g Black truffle, sliced or grated
12 Yellow chicory leaves

Cooking Method

Planning ahead

All the elements for this dish can be prepared at least 3 days in advance and simply heated through when required. 

For the celeriac choucroute

In a large saucepan on a high heat, sauté the strips of celeriac in the olive oil for 30 seconds, stirring all the time. Add the vinegar and reduce until you have about a tablespoon left. Reduce the heat to low, add the salt, pepper, gin, juniper and bay and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.

When the choucroute is soft, but still has a bit of a crunch left, turn it out onto a clean tray and cool as quick as possible. Reheat quickly in a saucepan when required or reserve in the fridge.

For the celeriac fondant

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

In a large frying pan on a high heat, melt the butter until it begins to foam. Place the semi-circle of celeriac in the pan and leave to caramelise for 5 minutes. Carefully turn it over, add the garlic, herbs, water and loosely cover with a piece of tinfoil and cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes until it is cooked in the centre. To check this, insert a small knife to check there is no resistance and it feels soft inside.

Strain off the cooking liquor and save this for when you’re making the jus and leave the celeriac fondant to cool slightly before you cut it into 4 equal pieces.

For the celeriac purée

In a large saucepan on a medium heat, soften the celeriac pieces in the butter for 5 minutes covered with a lid.

Add the milk, salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes until the celeriac is completely soft.

Remove from the heat and with a slotted spoon, place all the celeriac in a blender with a little of the hot milk and blend to a smooth purée. Make sure you do this on a gradual speed and build up to full power to prevent the purée from being thrown up the side of the blender, and never fill your blender over half way with hot liquid.

Once the purée is smooth, add a little squeeze of lemon juice and put to one side until required or store in a sealed container in the fridge.

For the celeriac jus

In a large sauté pan on a high heat, bring the butter to a foaming stage and caramelise the celeriac pieces for 10 minutes until quite dark but not burnt.

Carefully strain off the hot butter and place back on the heat. Add the garlic, herbs and white wine vinegar and reduce to a sticky glaze. Add the Madeira and bring back to the boil before you add the water and simmer for 10 minutes.

Strain through a fine sieve, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If you feel it needs to be slightly thicker, you could always dilute a teaspoon of arrowroot with cold water and stir this in as you bring the jus to the boil to thicken.

To serve

When all the garnishes are hot and you are ready to plate, divide each of the elements evenly between 4 plates and serve as it is or if you’re feeling generous you could use a little black truffle and chicory leaves, or a fricassée of wild mushrooms would also be delicious. But I think it looks stunning as it is and your guests will love it.


Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2015.

Photograph © Jean Cazals 2015.