Earthy Roots: Creamy Potatoes and Celeriac
Berkshire native Alana Chernila, local politician, mother of two, and author of the new cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), dispenses change and cooking ideas at the Great Barrington Farmers’ Market. She shares her peak-of-the-season recipes with Rural Intelligence to help us make the most of what’s growing in our region. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has just announced that she has a new one in the works: Meals from the Homemade Pantry (Clarkson Potter), due out in 2014.
I’m going to be bold here and make a plug for friend Thanksgiving this year well in advance. We convinced everyone to abandon their families and come over here. My family will end up slipping in at the last moment, so there is at least one grandma present.
I know this is a family holiday and all, but family has a lot of different meanings around here, so I think that it’s a good time to open up the definition.
And how does it go? We cook all day while the kids grind fancy crackers into the rug. We eat hours after the planned time, and no one complains. The food comes out really well. I have such a bad headache by the end of the day that I can hardly eat, but I am happy anyway, and I will have a great lunch the next day. We have a wayward traveler up from the city who will make us pumpkin hot toddies with dessert. And it warm, and cloudy, and the kids were outside all afternoon. And I am thankful for that and a lot more.
Today it’s cold and windy, and I’m moving slowly. But I’d feel mean if I didn’t tell you about our mashed potatoes. They’ve got celeriac in them which is totally brilliant, and they’re not everyday mashed potatoes, but I’m sure that you can find some special occasion to make them for.
Whipped Mashed Potatoes with Celery Root
1 lb celery root (celeriac), peeled and cut into cubes
2 cups half-and-half
1 stick unsalted butter
8 sprigs fresh thyme
3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
salt and pepper
In a 2 qt. saucepan, combine the celery root, half-and-half, butter, and thyme. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, partially covered, until celery root is tender, about 25 minutes. Discard thyme. Meanwhile, combine potatoes and 2 tsp. kosher salt in a 6 qt. saucepan add water so the potatoes are covered by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the celeriac and cream mixture to a food processor and blend until very smooth. Drain potatoes and mash with a masher. Add celery root purée and mash a bit more. Add pepper to taste. — Reprinted with permission from Eatingfromthegroundup.com . All text and photos copyright 2008-13 by Alana Chernila.