Celery root is in season the same time of year many people cook lentils, and they go well together. Pressed in the fall, even walnut oil is somewhat seasonal. This recipe is adapted from The Savory Way by Deborah Madison (Bantam Books 1990).
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 1/2 cups lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2/3 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into small cubes*
Salt, to taste
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons walnut oil, or more to taste
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the lentils, drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and add the onion, half of the carrots, celery, bay leaves and garlic. Fry lightly over medium heat, being careful not to brown the garlic, for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the drained lentils, 2 tablespoons parsley and celery root. Season with salt. Add stock and bring to boil, then simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Add the rest of the carrots during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
If there is a lot of liquid left, drain it (and save to use in soup or sauce). Return lentils to heat and add walnut oil, remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and vinegar. Check seasonings and finish with plenty of coarsely ground pepper.
*The gnarled, dirt-encrusted surface of the celery root looks daunting but is actually easy to peel. Rinse it off, slice down the sides to just under the skin. Slice into strips then cut the strips into cubes. Celery root will turn brown if exposed to the air for more than 10 minutes, so if it's to be longer than that, squeeze some lemon juice into a bowl of water and put the celery root in the acidulated water.