Aii, how butter, cream and cheese turn prosaic celery into pure poetry! As it bakes, the kitchen fills the luscious aroma of sherry. Noses lift into the air, "What is that in the oven?"
It's ribs of celery in a creamy white sauce imbued with the essence of both celery and sherry (or brandy or maybe an anise-flavored liqueur like Sambuca?) and then topped with Parmesan. And oh my -- it is delicious.
- Darn those celery strings! Next time I will definitely strip the strings off the celery ribs before braising them.
- The inspiring recipe calls for a whole stalk (yes a stalk, the whole big thing) of celery, shortened to an eight-inch length, then quartered while keeping the quarters intact at the root; this makes for an elegant presentation, especially in a rectangular serving dish. But to make the celery easier to eat without cutting, next time I will separate the individual ribs and cut into bite-size lengths.
- There's enough sauce for at least one full stalk of celery.
- This recipe is best for the celery ribs alone. But don't throw away the celery leaves - save them for a delicious celery and apple salad or this recipe for vegetable stock.
- I hope my local Kirkwood reader is reading today -- she chides me when I forget about the difference between celery stalks and celery ribs. Repeat after me: a 'stalk' of celery is the whole shebang, the whole big head and a 'rib' is well, an individual piece of celery broken away from the stalk.
DAY BEFORE - Braise the celery and make the sauce. Cover and refrigerate separately.
THANKSGIVING DAY - Bring the celery to room temperature. Rewarm the sauce til just bubbly. Top celery with sauce, top with cheese and bake for 30 - 45 minutes til hot clear-through.
~ Lemony Creamy Brussels Sprouts & Celery - light 'n' lemony ~
~ Jealous Marys - a light apértif ~
~ Standing Veggies - an easy, attractive way vegetable tray ~
~ more celery recipes ~
~ more Thanksgiving vegetable recipes ~
BOOZY BAKED CELERY
Time to table: 1 hour
BRAISE THE CELERY
1/2 cup chicken broth (I used Better for Bouillon)
1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth (I used sherry)
1 clove garlic, peeled and flattened with the side of a knife
1 whole stalk of celery,
Bring the liquids to a boil in a deep skillet.
Meanwhile, trim the celery, removing the root end and the celery tops. Remove the strings by running a vegetable peeler or paring knife along the outside of each rib. Cut the ribs into bite-size lengths. Drop into liquid, return to a boil, cover and braise for about 25 minutes or until soft. With a slotted spoon, remove celery from liquid. RESERVE THE LIQUID FOR THE SAUCE.
MAKE THE SAUCE
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour (reduced from 3 tablespoons)
1 cup reserved liquid from braising the celery (supplement with skim milk if needed)
1/4 cup cream
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
1 tablespoon brandy (I used sherry)
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour until smooth. (Do remove any lumps, otherwise the sauce will end up lumpy.) Stir for a minute or two until thickened. (Cooking for a minute at this stage removes any potential floury taste.) A tablespoon at a time, add the braising liquid, stirring to smoothly incorporate each spoonful before adding another. (This also avoids lumps.) A tablespoon at a time, stir in the cream, following the same process. Cook, stirring often, until thick, about four or five minutes. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Stir in the brandy.
ASSEMBLE & BAKE
Sauce, rewarmed if necessary
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400F. Arrange celery in a buttered baking dish. Top with sauce, then sprinkle Parmesan on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until hot clear through.
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Move aside, turkeys. (No, not you, dear readers! Thanksgiving turkeys!) Here at A Veggie Venture, vegetables are the real stars of the Thanksgiving table. So it's new Thanksgiving recipes all November long for a fabulous collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipe ideas. Whether it's last year's famous World's Best Green Bean Casserole or a brand-new recipe which catches your fancy this year, move over turkeys, it's vegetables' time. © Copyright 2007