Winter Root Vegetable Puree

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By Cathy Pollak for

Like just about everybody else, I love mashed potatoes. However, I consider them "special occasion" food, owing to their copious amounts of butter, cheese and cream.

At other times, I often just puree cauliflower for a faux version of the dish and don't add much of anything. It doesn't need it. Kind of like this Winter Root Vegetable Puree: It has so much flavor from the vegetables themselves. In fact, this is low-calorie way to enjoy what your brain thinks is mashed potatoes. It totally satisfies the urge for that starch side dish.

One of the root vegetables in this recipe is celeriac, also known as celery root. This bulbous root, available at most markets, is pretty ugly and looks challenging to cut, but it's not. It peels easily with a knife. And it's quite delicious, especially in soups.

The turnips add a peppery flavor to this puree, while the parsnips add sweetness. Turnips and parsnips play well together and celery root is just a bonus.

So much flavor allowed me to only use 1 tablespoon of butter and nonfat milk, therefore the calorie count is really low for this dish.

Winter Root Vegetable Puree

Serves 6.

14 ounces celeriac (celery root), peeled and cubed into 1-1/2" pieces

14 ounces parsnip, peeled and sliced into 1" thick coins

12 ounces turnips, peeled and cubed into 1-1/2" pieces

1 cup nonfat milk

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

1/8 cup green onion for garnish

Add celery root, parsnips and turnips to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer about 15 minutes or until vegetables are easily pierced with a fork. Drain.

Add half of the vegetables and half of the milk, butter, salt and pepper to a blender. Puree until smooth, about 30 seconds. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients. (If you have a high-powered blender start by pureeing 1/2 the vegetables and then add the rest of the ingredients and you will be able to puree all in the same lot. If not, puree in two batches as stated.)

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with green onion.

(Cathy Pollak runs a vineyard and winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and writes about food and wine at One for the Table is Amy Ephron's online magazine that specializes in food, politics, and love.


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