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Recipe for oven braised celery – how to love/hate celery

Fresh head of celery

Fresh head of celery

Celery is so good for you. Apart from many other benefits it helps to lower blood pressure naturally. Danny suffers from high blood pressure but actively avoids celery. Even when I buy a delicious blue cheese and munch it on beautifully prepared sticklets of washed and de-strung celery to try and tempt him to give celery a go, he reaches for the crackers to enjoy his share of the blue cheese.

“I just hate celery. The crunchiness, the strings – everything about it. Yuk!”

It was an impasse until I introduced him to stove top braised celery.
“Mumm this is really good.”
Recently I’ve been putting a covered dish of ordinary everyday celery into the oven when we have a roast. He loves this even more. Bingo!

My mum used to do the same when I was growing up and I hated it. Colourless and limp, it had no hanger appeal. And in that strange way that hatred can silently morph into an obsession, that fact that she loved and savoured this dish made me loathe it even more. How could she relish this dish? It made me feel nauseous. Perhaps braised celery just doesn’t appeal to children?

I used to buy celery hearts as I disliked having to toss the unappetising outside stalks of a full head of celery. But the hearts are expensive compared to the heads so I’ve been buying entire heads for ages now – and there is a real bonus here – the leaves. This can be used as a garnish or popped into a sandwich or a salad for a subtle celery hint. Generally the outer, less attractive stalks can be tossed into stews, soup and casseroles. It was when I discovered a wilting celery head lurking in the fridge that I first tried braising it in the oven along with the Sunday roast.

Luckily this head of celery was at the back of the fridge. If Danny had seen it he would have probably run screaming from the larder if I had mentioned that there were plans for this elderly vegetable.

He loved that braised celery dish and until he reads this post he was in the dark about the age of this celebrated but elderly head of celery.

Oven braised celery

Ingredients:

4 or 5 outside stalks of a head of celery. De strung and chopped width wise into 2”/10 cm chunks
Water to cover
1 tsp of vegetable stock powder – we use Marigold stock powder
Decent sprinkle of chopped parsley to dress

Method:

Boil some water. About 500 ml/ 1 pint. Add a teaspoon of a good quality vegetable stock and stir to dissolve.
Find an oven proof dish, preferably with a lid. Place the prepared celery into the dish and just cover with the vegetable stock. If you just have an open pan, cover this with foil. The cover helps to intensify the flavours.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature of your roast. The baked celery will keep warm for at least 30 mins if you leave it in the vegetable stock, lid on.

Using a slotted spoon, serve the braised celery with a decent sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Any left overs and stock can be whizzed in a liquidiser and added to soup. Danny likes celery soup too.

 

 


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6 Comments

  1. Clairey

    Wow, I have never heard of cooking celery this way. The only way I’ve ever cooked it is as a base for sauces and soups.

  2. Anne Wilson

    We often have celery as a veg, I normally steam it, it’s lovely with a nob of butter added. The leaves I use for soup bases. As we use so much of it I had planted 52 plants, unfortunately we found out that slugs just love it so we had to protect the surviving young plants with collars.

  3. The leaves dry well for use as a garnish , good with boiled eggs . Danny you’ve got a belly button to hold salt so you can eat celery in bed !

  4. I love cooked celery and this sounds great, will definitely give it a try. I discovered last year that celery can be used as a cut and come again vegetable. I planted four plants, kept them watered, didn’t bother trenching or covering and just picked off the stalks as I needed them. They lasted all winter and I have only just pulled up the plants as they were getting very stringy and replaced them with new ones. One of the easiest veggies, despite what the books say about all the fuss you have to give them!!!

  5. Jacqui

    Hello – I have just voted for The Cottage Smallholder blog in the Observer food monthly awards in the best food blog (UK based) section. Anyone else interesting in telling the world how much we love this blog? :-)

    http://www.easyanswer.net/observer/

    Jacqui L

  6. Delia does a nice braised celery dish with onions and carrots as well if I remember correctly

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