Whole Celeriac with Barley and Kale in the Slowcooker

I first came across this recipe as “Zombie Brains” in Jaime Oliver’s Save With Jaime.   After looking for online for accounts of people who’d tried it, I found this post on the blog Eat Simply, Live Well. She had the clever idea of turning the idea into a one pot slow-cooked meal in the oven.  This seemed like a natural progression to a slow cooker meal, so I’m making a trial attempt.  I’m not sure how any of it will work out as I’ve strayed from both her and Jaime’s versions, but that’s have the fun.  For example, I just noticed she used pearl not pot barley.  We’ll see how that goes I guess!

1 large celeriac (celery root) (mine was 1.25 pounds)4 cups any chopped mushrooms (oyster and button)
1 onion chopped roughly
5 cloves garlic chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3/4 cup pot barley, rinsed and drained
3 cups water / vegetable or other broth (Knorr’s veg. broth powder)
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped (I could only fit 3/4 bunch)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon each minced fresh rosemary, thyme and sage (or use dried to taste)

Saute mushroom, onions, and garlic in a bit of oil over medium heat (or use bacon dripping if you want to ruin a perfectly good vegetarian recipe like me!).  I was lucky to find some oyster mushrooms in the discount bin at Pete’s. celeriac 005

Deglaze pan with about 1/4 cup of water, flavoured with a few splashes of worsterchire sauce.celeriac 006

Combine carrots, kale, barley, sauteed mushrooms, garlic and onions in slow cooker.  Pour broth or water over top.

Clean celeriac.  Mine was pretty clean to begin with compared with some I’ve seen online.  celeriac 001celeriac 002I soaked it in warm soapy water and then scrubbed it really well with a long bristled brush.  Examine it carefully, especially any little crevices, cut off tiny protruding pieces if they seem to be holding in dirt or much.  I found the top of it had some (previously, now decaying – and vegetarians thing meat is gross!)  leaf matter trapped by little protruding pieces that I had to dig/cut/scrub out.  celeriac 004celeriac 003I also sliced off the bottom as I thought it would have grit but I think it was actually fine.

Now place your root on top of everything in the slow cooker.  If you need to move things around to make a well for it, mine just fit.

Place a blob of butter on top or some olive oil maybe.  I used some garlic butter I’d made and had leftover.  It fit right in the little gully I had to dig the muck out of on the top of the root.celeriac 007

Cook on low for 8 hours.  We’ll see how this one goes!

After about 5 hours on low the butter in the middle was foaming and the root was getting more tender, but still had resistance when poked with a fork.celery 002After 8 hours, it was very tender and sliced extremely easily, a butter knife might have done the job:celery 003The barley and kale had cooked down completely and there wasn’t any extra broth left.celery 004It was an interesting, tasty, and filling meal – the root is kind of like a super-mild turnip crossed with a potato and some celery flavour.  The kale and barley were especially nice and I will defintely slow cook it again!celery 005I think this recipe trasitioned to the slow cooker really well, but I’ve not tried the oven baked version so I’m not sure of any real difference in quality.

Tomorrow night I think I will cube up the remaining root and fry it up with some bacon in a hash.


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