Author Notes: Last winter I was all about celery root, or celeriac. I have had all sorts of celery root things before, but I don’t think I ever stopped to consider that celery root was any different than celery. Who knows why that would be. And, in case you didn't know, celery and celery root are not the same thing. It is a kind of celery, grown as a root vegetable for its large and bulbous hypocotyl rather than for its stem and leaves.
The sunchoke and celery root appeal to me in similar ways, ways not unlike the artichoke. I mean, who ever looked at any of these items and thought, “I wonder if I should try to eat this gross, and imposing vegetation?" These are ugly and unwelcoming looking shapes. But I'm glad someone did. Because they turned out to be so interesting – so complex, multi-layered, delicious, and fun to cook with. Actually, kind of like the men I am often attracted to. - F for Food
- 2 medium celery roots (celeriac; 1 3/4 pounds total), trimmed, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
- 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
- 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 8 ounces sunchokes, scrubbed
- 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- chopped fresh fennel fronds (for garnish)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Combine first 7 ingredients in heavy large pot. Add enough water to cover. Sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer with lid slightly ajar until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain; return to pot. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Stir over medium heat to dry vegetables. Using immersion blender, blend vegetables until coarsely pureed. Add cream. Stir in 3 1/2 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut sunchokes into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in medium bowl; add oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Dot with remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet; roast until tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes. Place celery root and potato puree in serving bowl. Sprinkle sunhokes and chopped fennel over and serve.