With the coming of winter, I often reflect on family traditions — both those that continue and those that are sadly but a memory. I was recently strolling through a farmers' market, looking to make a hearty dish, and stumbled upon the strange looking but flavorful celeriac root ball. It through me back to a memory of my German great-grandmother and her passion for winter root vegetables.
She had an enormous garden in the middle of town — the plot was larger than the footprint of her house, which also had a root cellar.
In the fall, we would dig our hands into the loamy soil, popping up potatoes, onions, and on many an occasion a strange root I had never seen before. We'd carry our bounty in our calico aprons, step down the old, rickety stairs and enter the clammy cellar that smelled of the earth. Its three walls were lined with wooden shelving built by my grandfather.
We'd take the time to set each potato, each rutabaga, each onion on their special shelf, admire our work, and then pick a few potatoes for our afternoon meal — creamy potato soup with saltine crackers smeared with butter…
This winter dish — York Place Winter Roasted Vegetables — is chockfull of flavors, textures, and colors. It requires little preparation, and the aroma of roasting garlic, orange, and celeriac will make even the most finicky of eaters sneak into the kitchen, begging for a taste.
- 1.5 lbs of wild mushrooms
- 1 celeriac root ball
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 orange
- 2 TB olive oil
- 3 TB butter
- Sea salt (smoky, if you can find it) & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Set oven to 350 degrees
Wash mushrooms, patting all excess water off with a towel
Remove the thick skin of the celeriac root ball with a knife or vegetable peeler
Cut celeriac into 1/4 inch thick triangle slices
Chop top off of garlic head, brush with olive oil
Slice orange into eighths, leaving fruit on the rind
Place celeriac, garlic, and orange on baking sheet
Brush with oil, sprinkle generously both coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place in oven on middle rack for about 15-20 minutes, or until browning occurs and celeriac begins to soften
Sauté mushrooms in butter, shaking pan frequently, until they turn golden brown
Once cool to the touch, pop individual garlic cloves out of their skins and add to roasted vegetables
Dab orange slices onto celeriac slices, allowing the roasted juices to coat the triangles
Place roasted vegetables and orange slices in pan and sauté with mushrooms for 5 minutes until the flavors mix together
Serve immediately in a warm dish
Recipe by Lisa Rainwater