Here’s a refreshingly different side dish to serve at Thanksgiving, when celery is on sale. I went ISO Amish Creamed Celery recipes because I missed out on the wedding feast* at Fisher’s Restaurant during my recent trip to Amish country. It’s essentially cooked celery in a sweet-and-sour béchamel**, and I like this version which uses butter and brown sugar. Serves 8-10 as a side dish.
1 bunch of celery, sliced into 1 inch pieces, about 4 c
chicken stock or water
2 t butter
2 t all purpose flour
½ c brown sugar
½ t salt
1 ½ t cider vinegar
¼ c cream, milk or half-and-half
Method: simmer the celery in stock or water until tender, about 20 minutes. Reserve the celery and the stock. In the same saucepan, melt butter then mix in flour to form a roux; stir and cook on low heat till flour is absorbed and the mix has a slightly nutty smell, about 1 minute. Add salt, brown sugar and vinegar, stirring constantly, then add chicken stock or water until the sauce is thick but still liquid (about ¼ c should do it). Remove from the heat and stir in cream or milk. Return the celery to the pan and stir to coat evenly. Serve hot.
*This web page presents a very detailed description of a typical Amish wedding in the Lancaster, PA. Creamed celery is served along with a main dish of “roast” which is what we would think of as Thanksgiving stuffing, but with chicken mixed in. Celery stalks in jars decorate the tables. I would like to find evidence that the sturdy, erect celery plant is a symbol of fertility, but so far have come up empty.
**I have been reading up on the green bean casserole where you mix canned green beans with mushroom soup and sprinkle fried onions on top. I think this béchamel would work much better as a sauce. But only serve one such dish at Thanksgiving, otherwise it gets monotonous.