The Cottage Smallholder

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Braised celery and broccoli (calabrese) recipe

Photo: Braised celery and broccoli

Photo: Braised celery and broccoli

The benefits of celery are enormous. Celery is thought to possibly reduce blood pressure, help combat cholesterol and even cancer. Leving these aside, braised celery can be a superb and delicious vegetable. This recipe makes it easy to include in any well balanced diet. I’m always attracted to the heads of celery in the supermarket and often eat celery and carrot sticks with hummus for a lunch time snack.

In the past D would welcome a bowl of winter celery soup and that was it. He woud never, ever ask for celery as a veggie with his roast beef. But who would? Recently we have become addicted to Jo’s recipe for braised celery. This is not the floppy sticks of braised celery that used to be produced to accompany the Sunday roast when I was a child. This recipe produces celery chunks with a bit of crunch and loads of flavour. A vegetable with real attitude. We retain the celery juice to add to stews and casseroles and fight over any second helpings. Danny is bemused as this is the first time that I have ever challenged him for seconds on the vegetable front.

Last week I added some ordinary broccoli (calabrese) for the last five minutes. It worked very well. The calabrese was infused with the vegetable celery stock flavour yet its sweet taste came through. Tonight Danny insisted on the same again. Questioned carefully he came up with this excuse.
“You need to be scientific about the amounts and timings. I want to be able to replicate the recipe at any time and not have to wheel you up to the stove.”
Oh yeah!

I have served braised celery with ham in parsley sauce, cottage pie, Sunday roast pork, chicken and steak. Every time it has been met with rapturous applause. But the broccoli and celery combination has turned out to be an Olympian leap. A great way of making both these vegetables really shine. I’m not keen on veg per se and generally force them down. But I loved this combination. This could be the answer to encouraging non veg  lover back from the brink.

So here’s the recipe with Danny’s scientific amounts and timings.

Braised celery and broccoli (calabrese) recipe (for four)


  • 300g of celery. Washed, destrung and chopped diagonally
  • 150g of broccoli cut into florets with all stems a similar thickness (1cm) so they cook at the same rate (calabrese, not the purple or white sprouting sort)
  • 30g of butter
  • Half a pint of vegetable stock. (We make this with 1 tsp of vegetable stock powder). You need to cover the celery chunks so top up if necessary.
  • If you have celery leaves, chop them very fine for a garnish. Otherwise use some chopped parsley.


  1. Wash the celery well. De-string and cut diagonally in 2 centimetre slices.
  2. Over a low heat melt the butter and add the celery chunks. Let the butter and celery infuse for about 8 minutes. Meanwhile wash and prepare your broccoli. All the stalks need to be approximately the same thickness. Roughly a centimetre for each stalk.
  3. Add the boiling stock to the celery, bring to simmering point and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the broccoli pressing the stalks down into the stock. Cover the saucepan so that the heads can steam as the stalks soften. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Test the broccoli stalks for softness and if cooked remove the celery and broccoli with a slotted spoon and garnish with chopped celery leaves or parsley.

  Leave a reply


  1. We’re not massive fans of celery although we do love all other veg big time – rather have veg than meat! But this sounds delicious & with your introduction highlighting all the reasons celery’s good for you I’ll be giving it a go. Do you think you may prefer your veg if they were steamed? We now eat all ours steamed or roasted and have gone from moderate veg eaters to veg gannets! Steaming seems to intensify the flavour as no water gets to the veg.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi The Dragon

    Yes, it’s fine to link to this recipe.

  3. The Dragon

    This sounds really tasty! Hmm could be a way of getting my OH to eat celery (he will just about accept it in a casserole).

    Would it be okay to link this recipe through to the Veggie yahoo group I belong to?

  4. I wish I liked celery, because it is so good for you, but I just can’t get used to the taste. I don’t mind it if it has been cooked for a couple of hours in a stew, but raw is just not my thing. Maybe I should try it your way!

  5. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Hi Fiona –

    as Tony is an out-&-out carnivore I generally have to force vegetables down his throat which feels akin to stuffing a foie gras goose. Mind you, about the only veg he does eat with gusto, is braised celery….so I’ll try him with this recipe, & maybe – just maybe – gently break him in to eating calabrese as well!! 🙂

  6. regarding celery leaves: if you don’t have any, but would like some (long term, i mean), then you can grow a herb called “celery leaf”. It was first mentioned to me by my Dutch mother in law when we were recipe swapping and i’d never heard of it. But apparently there is a herb that tastes of celery. It can be found as “Par-cel”, (Apium graveolens “Par-cel”), I got some from Thompsons and Morgan ( last year, but other people do it too ( It looks rather like parsley. Anyway, if you want to try some, Fiona, let me know and i’ll post you some. Others might like to keep an eye out for it as a subtitute for growing celery, to give the flavour for soups, stews n the like without growing actual celery which can be a bit of a pain in the proverbial, i understand…

  7. I have been through my seed packets this week and I am primed and ready to start planting. I dont have any celery planned for the allotment, but you could have just tempted me to add it.

    Hope Jalopy passed (((((Beaming)))) good vibes

  8. Im certainly not a veg hater, but Im not a celery fan… I like it finely diced in soups & stews, its essential in many recipes for me as I do a lot of Italian cooking, but as a veg or in salads Im ot a big fan.

    When I have to buy celery I use the yellow stalks & leaves in salads (only if Im having a good dressing) the green tops & bottom in stocks & the rest I dice up & freeze in ziplock bags.

    I apply this same freezing of uncooked diced veg to parsnip too as I only use a small handful in soups & stews.

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pamela

    No I don’t really like veg. I eat them because they are good for me. I quite like salad with a good dressing.

    But I do enjoy this braised celery recipe so perhaps other veg haters will enjoy this too.

  10. This sounds delicious, I wish I had bought celery on the market this morning now. Do you really not like veg?

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