I quite often buy celery thinking I’m going to make something different, and then it ends up sitting in the fridge for ages before it’s made into the usual soup!
1 head of celery scrubbed and chopped
1 oz butter
1 oz flour
Quarter pint milk
3 oz grated cheese
Salt and cayenne pepper
Cook the celery in a little boiling salted water for 20-30 minutes and drain, keeping a quarter pint of the liquid. Melt the fat, stir in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the milk and the cooking liquor, bring to the boil and continue to stir until the mixture thickens; add 2oz of the cheese and season. Fill an oven proof dish with alternate layers of the celery and sauce. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and a few breadcrumbs. Put under the grill until heated through and browned.
I made the full quantity of this as a side dish for our dinner. I had an entire head of celery sitting redundantly at the bottom of the fridge so was looking forward to a new way of cooking it. I really like the flavour of celery and do also use it as a base for soups. I believe it’s one of the very few negative calorie foods, where more calories are burned eating than then calories consumed! Well not in this dish!
I didn’t have the correct size plate as mine was to big for layers. I only had one layer of celery and then had to just pour the sauce on top. I used a cheddar and have my stash of breadcrumbs in the freezer.
I enjoyed this but it was not well received by my fellow diners! They’ve both been put off by celery when I used it in the baked bean pie back in September! The celery was really soft and not as strong in flavour after all the boiling, which was ok but I do like the flavour of celery. The sauce was lovely; thick and cheesy and then the golden crust was pretty awesome! I think it is a great side and dish would make a nice change to have with roast chicken.