Potato and Celery Root Mash ~ Purée de Celeri

Potato and celery root mash is a French version of a classic American side dish. It’s got a subtle celery scent and a texture reminiscent of turnips. The addition of potatoes keeps it close to home.

Cover of Lunch in Paris cookbook featuring a watercolor picture of a girl with long dark hair, with a shopping bag and a baguette..
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Behold, your new favorite mashed potatoes. Though celery root may look like Frankenstein’s brain, it is among my most smug Paris discoveries. With a light celery scent and a turnip texture, this mash satisfies both the French passion for smooth buttery taste and the American vigilance about carbs.–Elizabeth Bard

LC note

This makes for a relatively mild, ascetic, yet purely-flavored mash. If you’re the type of cook who can’t conceive of dairy-less mashed potatoes, by all means, feel free to add a drizzle of warm cream or whole milk. And if you wish to take the time to rice the roots, well, we’re not going to stop you.

LC Alien Brain-Like Vegetable Note: Arm yourself with a sharp knife and a vegetable peeler. First, lop off both the top and bottom of the root with the knife. Then use the peeler as you would with any vegetable, starting at the sliced top of the root where the peeler can catch hold. If the thick, gnarled-looking skin is particularly stubborn, put down the peeler and place the root on a cutting board, cut-side down to ensure it stays steady, and slice off the offending exterior with the knife.

Potato and Celery Root Mash ~ Purée de Celeri

Cover of Lunch in Paris cookbook featuring a watercolor picture of a girl with long dark hair, with a shopping bag and a baguette..
Potato and celery root mash lightens up traditional mashed tators. Buttery, creamy, and with a lovely depth of flavor, you might find this dish graces your table often.
Elizabeth Bard

Prep 25 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 55 mins
2 servings
442 kcal
4 from 1 vote
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  • 1 pound (2 medium) potatoes peeled or scrubbed and chopped into 1-inch (25-mm) cubes
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds celery root (1 smallish), peeled and chopped into 1-inch (25-mm) cubes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter plus more to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Fill a stock pot with cold, salted water. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Add the celery root and continue to boil until both are just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain well.
  • Return the celery root and potatoes to the pot and place over a very low flame, shaking the pan slightly to evaporate any water left in the celery root.
  • Mash the vegetables together in the pan. This is a rustic purée, so there’s no need to get obsessive compulsive about the lumps. Aim for a chunky consistency.
  • Add the butter, salt, and pepper to taste. Taste and, if desired, add even more butter—it’s French, after all. Serve at once. Or you can transfer the mash to a gratin dish, dot with additional butter, and pass for a minute or 2 under the broiler.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 442kcal (22%)Carbohydrates: 76g (25%)Protein: 11g (22%)Fat: 13g (20%)Saturated Fat: 8g (50%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 30mg (10%)Sodium: 412mg (18%)Potassium: 2149mg (61%)Fiber: 12g (50%)Sugar: 8g (9%)Vitamin A: 354IU (7%)Vitamin C: 76mg (92%)Calcium: 201mg (20%)Iron: 5mg (28%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is so simple and inexpensive to cook that it could easily work as a side dish for chicken, fish, and pork on any given night. I found the balance of celery root to potato reasonable, with the butter, salt, and pepper further smoothing the “greenness” of the celery root. The only thing I’d change is mashing the mixture to a smoother consistency. A few small lumps are fine, but the chunkier rusticity wasn’t a pleasing texture for me, especially when teamed with the mackerel as suggested, and a light salad. The onions in the mackerel dish and celery root in this one are both strong aromatics, but they didn’t cancel each other out, as I thought they might.

This was another simple dish to prepare. The amount of potatoes and celery root called for seemed like it would yield more than just two to four servings, so I halved the recipe and served four perfectly with no leftovers. I expected the celery root to have a more pronounced flavor than it did, but it was pleasantly mild, almost to the point where next time I might add some herbs to punch up the flavor.

This recipe was easy and delicious, and I’ll make it again for sure. The ingredients list doesn’t specify what type of potatoes to use. I initially pulled out russets, but then backtracked and switched over to buttery Yukon Golds. They have such a nice yellow color to them, which provides visual appeal even before the butter is added at the end. Additionally, the recipe doesn’t specify to peel the potatoes.

I followed the directions to bring the potatoes to a boil first and then add the celery root. The vegetables were soft at 20 minutes, but I gave them another five minutes for easier mashing. I used the full three tablespoons of butter, and, after adding salt and pepper, I had a rich, delicious, chunky mash. I felt it needed a heavier hand with seasonings, so I added more. I especially liked it this way—a bit salty and with an abundance of black pepper. I confess to nearly doubling the butter—this wasn’t at all necessary, but I wanted it extra-rich. Overall, it’s a simple and sophisticated alternative to plain mashed potatoes.

Originally published April 06, 2010


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