Not so pretty, these celeriac things. They look like a cross between the butt of a matted yak, and a swede with dermatitis. But damn, are they delicious.
Like Stephen Fry, you’ll find treasure beneath that exterior. There is a smooth understated elegance to a celeriac. And a faint nutty aroma. Indeed the celeriac is Yotam Ottolenghi’s favourite root vegetable, so I became a disciple faster than green grass through a goose.
For a carbalicious root, celeriac is rather light on the tummy and even lighter on the wallet. Whizzed up in a blender with creamy white beans, it provides a comforting alternative to mashed spuds, when the mood yodels.
And get this. Beans carry a cargo of B vitamins and fibre, making them the heavyweight champion food for healthy hearts. Gastroenterologists – the specialists who look after your pipes – recommend thirty to thirty five grams of daily dietary fibre. One cup of the popular red kidney beans provides eleven grams, while butterbeans ring in at sixteen grams per serving. Want to know the average daily intake in Ireland? A measly ten grams. So forget that hideous childhood rhyme, and start loving beans. They love you.
While your colon gets a good spring clean, so too will your skin. Nutritionists are quick to remind us that a build-up of toxins in the body often manifests in skin complaints – spots, rashes, blotchiness, tantrums. Our skin is our body’s largest excretory organ. With the added vitamin C from celeriac, you’ll be well on your way to giving Angela Scanlon some competition.
Celeriac and white bean puree
Makes 6 servings
1 teaspoon bicarb
350g dried butterbeans, soaked for 8 hours
½ head celeriac, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
A few twists of the salt and pepper mill
Bring a pan of water to the boil with your bicarb. Add the butterbeans and cook until tender (20-45 minutes). Drain the cooked beans, reserving 150ml of the cooking liquid for later.
Meanwhile, steam the chopped celeriac for 10 minutes.
Transfer to a blender along with the cooked beans, and whip until sumptuously smooth. You will need to add the reserved liquid, salt, pepper and excitement as you puree.
Scrape into a serving dish, smoothing the top, and mmmizzle with olive oil.
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