Braised, then fried, celeriac

Braised, then fried, celeriac

Recipe by Kelda Haines from Rita (from the Nikau Cafe cookbook ). 

I count myself lucky to have worked alongside, and learnt from, very experienced cooks - like Sam Pope, who taught me this technique.

Celeriac cooked this way is rich midwinter fare, and you can serve it as the centre of a meal. The celeriac becomes gently caramelised, with a silken texture. Its celery-like flavour is amplified by this method, so 1 like to pair it with a strong, sharp blue cheese, crumbled through a bitter leaf salad. And I wouldn't dissuade you from trying it with a steak.

Serves 4

800 grams/1 large celeriac

50 grams butter

1 cup chicken stock

4 bay leaves salt and pepper

Peel the celeriac thickly with a knife. Wash the celeriac, knife and board - celeriac can be quite dirty.

Cut the celeriac in half, then cut each half into thick,

2-centimetre slices. The celeriac should be cooked in one layer, so you may need two pans, each with its own lid.

Heat the pans and divide the butter and bay leaves between them. Place the celeriac snugly in one layer in each pan and season with salt and pepper.

Pour over the chicken stock so it just covers the celeriac. You may need a little more, depending on how the celeriac fits in the pan. Top up with a little water, if needed.

Cover the pans and simmer for 35-40 minutes.

The liquid will become very syrupy. Don't stir or disturb the celeriac. Continue cooking until the liquid has completely evaporated. Lower the heat and continue to cook so the side of the celeriac in contact with the pan turns golden. Turn the heat off and rest for 5 minutes.

After a rest, the celeriac will release from the pan and be easier to serve intact with its golden crust.

Scrape all the golden sediment from the pan and hick it over the celeriac. That's the good stuff!