While cooking, listen to this: Listen to Her Heart by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Thanksgiving at my house is a bit of a scene. Depending on whether the Michigan-Ohio State football game is in Ann Arbor or Columbus, we usually have between 20 and 35 people at what I can only accurately call a Thanksgiving feast. Even though my mom complains about hosting, I know she secretly loves it. Family from both sides come into town along with a few old friends and college pals - what's not to love? It's certainly a joyous occasion filled to the brim with laughter and lots of carbs.
Ah, carbs. If Thanksgiving was a Jewish holiday, I'm pretty certain it would be a mitzvah to eat carbs. Between the stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and rolls, you've got all the starch you need to hibernate for the rest of the winter. My mom loves to complain about the carbs. In fact, she chooses her carbs wisely (and dutifully reports back to me) usually opting for stuffing over mashed potatoes. I'm more of a little bit of everything kind of girl, myself, but I will admit that in recent years the mashed potatoes have been so lackluster that it's been hard to make the case for multiple carbs.
Enter this celeriac mash.
Celeriac isn't going to win any beauty contests, but man oh man does it pack some serious flavor. If you're not a fan of celery, hear me out! A lot of people associate celery with those icky green sticks you're forced to munch on if you're dieting in a 90's film. But beyond being an absolute treat for anyone looking for a hummus dipper or a log to hold their peanut butter and ants (I'm a bit of a child at heart, in case that wasn't clear already), celery has immense flavor that really enhances a multitude of dishes. If you're a fan of chicken or vegetable soup (any soup, really), chances are you don't mind celery, or it's funny cousin, celeriac. The aromatics (combo of onions/celery/carrots/garlic) that you sauté in the beginning of your soup-venture, bring out a hearty, wholesome taste that is nearly impossible to find in starch alone. That's why I adore this celeriac mash. The potatoes are only enhanced in flavor and taste and the texture brings something new to the table (though I'm sure mashed potato purists would argue that lumps in mashed potatoes are borderline unacceptable).
To top it all off, this recipe is easy peasy. Something even the most novice of chefs can easily master. All you need is a big vat of boiling water, a good potato masher and some bicep strength. Sure, sure you can use a ricer, but we're all about putting in the elbow grease - it makes the finished product all the more enjoyable.
So, whether your friends-giving-ing it up with some pals or flying home for a family jamboree, this celeriac mash is the perfect compliment to your Thanksgiving table - plus it gives the vegetarians in the group a break, taking the focus away from the big bird in the center of the table. And most importantly, give your loved ones an extra squeeze this holiday season. With all the craziness going on in our world, it's nice to take a second to be thankful. And guess what we're thankful for? All of you! Thanks for taking the time to read our words and give us constant praise and support. We certainly couldn't have done it without your help.
BUTTERY CELERIAC POTATO MASH
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10m | Total Cook Time: 45m
Category: Sides, Thanksgiving, Gluten-Free
Source: adapted slightly from Martha Stewart
1 pound potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped*
1 pound celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped**
4 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
*I like Yukon Gold best but use your favorite.
**There's really only one kind of celeriac.
Boil the potatoes and celeriac: add the potatoes and celeriac into a large pot, and fill with cold water until the veggies are totally covered, plus two extra inches. Bring to a boil and generously salt the water. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes. The veggies should be able to be pierced. Drain.
Mash the potatoes and celeriac: there are a few ways to do this - you could put the veggies into a food mill or ricer, or you can mash them directly in the pot. We went with the latter route - just put the drained veggies back into the pot and mash away until smooth. Add the butter and stir until totally melted and combined, then add the nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To keep: in a tightly sealed container these will keep well for a few days.