Celery root purée with hazelnuts

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Can I just say that I love Bon Appétit? This will be the third of their recipes that I post in the last few days and that made up my Thanksgiving feast. I’m not a really traditional person (I even made roasted chicken instead of turkey!) and I live to try new things. The only staple that I have to have at Thanksgiving is green bean casserole (all homemade, thank you very much!) but other than that, I like to mix things up. Of course, there has to be some kind of stuffing, and a potato dish (or two!) and gravy. I had all of those things this year, but decided to swap out the traditional mashed potatoes for this amazing mashed celeriac side dish that piqued my interest because of the addition of toasted hazelnuts and hazelnut oil (and also did include a few potatoes ;). I love the added crunch and flavor that the hazelnuts brought to this purée, which was in and of itself completely divine. I didn’t miss the mashed potatoes one bit, and it was the one part of Thanksgiving dinner that my guests ranted and raved about the most.

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Just like certain vegetables like Jerusalem artichokes, the celery root seemed smoother and creamier than traditional potatoes. This mash was smooth as silk, with the occasional bite and crunch of the hazelnuts. The hazelnut oil added another subtle layer of flavor and the celery root really shone through, even though there was just the slightest hint of potato. If you’ve never really tried celery root before (which is awesome raw and grated in a salad, or served with roasted beets and quinoa), this would be a great starter recipe. It has a very distinctive taste that I can’t even begin to describe. You’ve just gotta try it!

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Celery root purée with hazelnuts
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit

Ingredients:
Equal parts celery root and potatoes (1 1/2 pounds of each will serve 5-7 people), roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 C heavy cream
1/3 C whole milk
1/3-1/4 C butter
Hazelnut oil for drizzling
1/4 C toasted hazelnuts, skins removed and roughly chopped

This one is easy, folks. I followed Bon Appétit’s recipe to the letter the first time but didn’t really see why I should dirty and extra pot heating up the milk and cream before incorporation into the potato/celeriac mixture. The second time, I omitted this step and didn’t notice a bit of difference. So…

Heat 2 pots of water until boiling (or one very large pot). Add the potatoes and celery root, respectively, and cook until fork-tender, about 20 minutes depending on the size of your vegetables. Drain and return to the same pot over medium low heat. Using a whisk or potato masher, stir and mash the veggies while cooking them gently to remove any lingering moisture. Once they’re relatively smooth and after about 3-4 minutes of additional cooking time, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, stirring to incorporate. Turn off the heat and add the cream and milk, stirring until a wonderful purée forms. Season with salt and pepper, and blend with a hand mixer if you like a really creamy texture. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and drizzle with hazelnut oil right before serving.

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