|Roasted Celeraic with Wild Mushrooms and Pearl Barley|
I’ve bet you’ve seen celeraic: the knobby, bulbous, root covered vegetable looks a bit like an unshapely brain or turnip gone awry. This root vegetable is grown the world over and its taste is reminiscent of the celery stalk. It can be roasted, fried, boiled or eaten raw – and adds a wonderful flavor to soups and casserole. Sometimes called celery root – it’s really not the same thing. I bought one celeraic at the Slow Food Farmer’s market in Fiskars last weekend and have been waiting all week for the chance to cook it up (Jenny’s beautiful pictures captured the market scene so well – thanks Jenny!).
|Faces of Celeraic, part 1|
Faces of Celeraic, Part 2
Thanks to Jamie Oliver and his book Save with Jamie, which I picked up during a recent business trip to London, today I tried celeraic roasted in a cast-iron casserole dish on a bed of barley & wild mushrooms. Jamie’s new book is fantastic – I highly recommend getting it and perusing the pages with an eye not simply for saving money, but in search of inspiration: as is often the case when people look to get a delicious but low-cost meal on the table, Jamie uses a lot of vegetables in his recipes. In fact, many of the recipes are vegetables only, letting the flavors of high-quality vegetable shine, just as they should, especially this time of year when many vegetables are being harvested at their peak of flavor and ripeness, and should be celebrated.
In the spirit of highlighting the vegetables, I made a riff on Jamie’s roasted celeraic, which he descriptively calls Zombie Brain, but instead of cooking it up as two dishes that were combined for serving, I put everything in my trusty 2-liter/quart cast iron covered casserole dish and shoved it in the oven for a good long roast. I also skipped the truffle oil, cream and mustard because I didn’t want to use them, and changed the quantities of the herbs, used wild mushrooms instead of button and generally had a good time playing with the recipe.
|Still on the stovetop, butter just added. Now into the oven…|
Because of the flavors of the wild mushrooms, the variety of vegetables and herbs, and the long roast, there is no need to add any sort of broth to this dish. Plain old tap water will serve you well here, and the dish comes out of the oven fragrant – smelling of herbs and garlic and a scent I couldn’t quite name, with a flavor deep with umami and very satisfying. Fresh out of the oven, the celeraic looks for all the world like a little mini pork roast, and can be sliced up into thin slices in the same way.
|Sliced celeraic served with roasted barley, mushrooms and vegetables|
Make this on a weekend; or alternatively, make this some weeknight when dinner is over and you’re planning to spend the evening lounging on the couch with a good book. It comes together in 10 minutes or so, and can be refrigerated to be reheated the next day. It’s the perfect Fall or Winter dish.
Note: if you use dried mushrooms instead of fresh, rehydrate them by pouring boiling water over the top and allowing to sit for 5 minutes. Add both the mushrooms and the soaking water to the casserole dish and proceed with the recipe, subtracting the amount of soaking water from the amount of water in the recipe below.
|Up close & personal: Roasted Celeraic with Wild Mushrooms & Pearl Barley|
Roasted Celeraic with Wild Mushrooms and Pearl Barley
inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Save with Jamie
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
one onion, diced
1 liter/quart wild mushrooms or 1 cup dried & rehydrated with 1 cup boiling water (I used yellow foot mushrooms / suppilovahvero)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup large potato, peel on and cut into chunks
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
10 grinds of fresh ground pepper or heaped 1/4 teaspoon
1/2 cup pearl barley (could replace with brown rice to make gluten-free)
1/2 liter water / 2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter, optional (omit to make recipe vegan)
salt and pepper to sprinkle
Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
Heat a 2 liter/quart cast iron casserole dish over medium-high heat (you can also do this in a separate pot if you are using a ceramic casserole dish instead). Add the oil, onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to release their liquid, about 2 minutes. Add in the remaining ingredients except for the celeraic, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Scrub the celeraic under cool running water to remove and dirt around the roots. Turn off the heat, stir the vegetable mixture well, and push the celeraic, root side up, down into the mass of vegetables. Place the butter on top of the celeriac, if using. Sprinkle the celeraic with a pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper. Place the lid on the casserole dish and place it in the oven.
Allow to roast, undisturbed, for 90 minutes to 2 hours until the celeraic is golden brown and can be easily pierced through with a butter knife.
To serve, slice the celeraic into thin slices as you would a pork roast, and serve up the slices with spoonfuls of the mushroom barley mixture. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh chives.