Braised Celeriac Stew with White Beans, Orzo Pasta, Leeks, Parsley and Olive Oil
Featuring our Le Creuset 3-Ply Stainless steel 30cm Shallow Casserole
When I started cooking, I didn’t really know what a celeriac was. I’m sure I ate it as a child, but I hadn’t cooked one before. In fact, I’d probably been in the kitchen for several years before I prepared one myself. Over time, it’s become a firm favourite of mine and I’m pleased to say, despite its gnarled appearance, that celeriac has found wider popularity too. It’s definitely a vegetable I come back to time and time again over the autumn and winter and I’d encourage you to do the same. Its flavour is somewhere between sweet earth and hazelnuts, it comforts sedately, and it reassures entirely. It really comes into its own in this wonderful textured autumn stew.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
1 medium celeriac
100ml of olive oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
4 bay leaves
½ bunch fresh thyme leaves, picked
1 litre vegetable stock
2 medium leeks, washed, trimmed and cut into 1cm rounds
1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained
75g orzo pasta
1 bunch of parsley, leaves picked and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the celeriac down on a large board and use a large, sharp chef’s knife with a 15cm to 20cm blade to slice away the tough skin from the outside of the vegetable. Cut the celeriac flesh up into 3-4 cm cubes.
- Place the shallow casserole over a medium heat. Add the olive oil followed by the sliced onion, garlic and a little salt and pepper. Cook, stirring regularly for 6-8 minutes.
- Now, add the celeriac, bay and thyme leaves and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring regularly so nothing sticks or catches.
- Pour in the vegetable stock and add the leeks, beans, but not the pasta for the moment. Stir well then turn down the heat and put the lid on the casserole. Let everything cook gently together for 25-30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Now stir in the orzo pasta, replace the lid and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes
- If the vegetables look a little dry at any point, add a dash more stock or water.
- Lift the lid and stir in the chopped parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow the dish to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- It’s delicious with a generous grating of hard aged cheese e.g. Parmesan, and a crisp dressed green salad on the side.
- Vegetable-based dishes like this rely on generosity to really shine. Use plenty of fresh herbs and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to build layers and depth of flavour.
- Saving your vegetable trimmings for making stock is well worth doing, reducing waste and making something delicious at the same time. You can even bag them up and keep them in the freezer until you have enough to make a big batch. Leek tops, carrot peelings, onion skins and herb stalks are all ideal.
- Orzo pasta is not much bigger than a grain of rice. It adds character to this stew and starchy body, but there’s no reason not to use another shape of pasta if you have some to hand.