Anna Jones The modern cook
Celeriac is a bit of a beast to look at, but beneath that gnarly, knobbly exterior lies creamy white flesh with a sweet, nutty flavour. Here, I use it as the base for a stew with the surprise hit of some cheddar-spiked dumplings on top. It’s also the star of this simple soup, topped with a dukkah-style spicy nut sprinkle, elevating it to something I’d eat any day of the week. You’ll soon be strewing it over everything you cook. Prep Cook Serves 20 min 2 hr 6-8 Olive oil
6 small red onions, peeled and quartered
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and left whole
1kg (approx) celeriac
½ bottle red wine 1 litre vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs rosemary leaves 1 tbsp harissa Salt
1 x 400g tin white beans (I use haricot) Greens and mustard, to serve chilled for brushing (optional) Heat the oven to 150C (130C fan)/ gas 2. Heat a heavy-based casserole over a medium-high flame and add a good glug of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook for five minutes or so, until they begin to brown.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the vegetables, making sure you save a 100g piece of celeriac for the dumplings. Once the onions are browned, add the vegetables to the pan and cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the wine, stock, herbs, harissa and a good pinch of salt, cover with a lid, and put in the oven for an hour and 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the dumpling mixture. Grate the celeriac and butter into a bowl, crumble in the cheddar, add the flour, salt and pepper, and strip in the leaves of the thyme. Add two tablespoons of very cold water, and use your hands to bring the dumpling mixture together into a nice dough – if it looks dry, add a few drops more water. Roll the dumplings into 12 balls.
Once the stew is ready – the vegetables should be soft and yielding, the wine reduced – stir in the beans. Brush the dumplings with egg yolk, if you like, then put them on top of the stew, leaving a little room in between for them to increase in size. Put back in the oven – no lid this time – for another 25-30 minutes, until browned on top. Serve with greens and mustard.
For the dumplings 100g celeriac saved from the stew, grated 100g salted butter,50g crumbly cheddar 200g selfraising flour Salt and black pepper Leaves from a few sprigs of thyme Egg yolk,