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Christmas Nutroast

We made this nut roast in January when we were attempting to go meat-free for a few weeks but still wanted something suitable for Sunday lunch. This would make a great centre-piece for a veggie Christmas dinner and we’d also recommend for any celebratory meal, heaps of flavour and definitely challenged our pre-conceived notions about nut roast. Serve with all the usual trimmings.

Wine Suggestion: given the season we’d suggest a Southern Rhöne red, especially one that has fresh spices in the aromas. The Chateau Pesquie Terrasses rouge we think is sophisticatacted and wholesomely satisfying and a wine rack regular, though a step up at this time of year is needed so we opened a wine from Domaine de la Vieille Julienne. Known for their superb Chateauneuf-du Papes, we instead went for their Cotes du Rhone lieu-dit Clavin which is rich, smooth and powerful; a very sophisticated red indeed and belies it’s lowly classification … a hidden gem.

Christmas Nut Roast – serves 8

  • olive oil
  • 100g quinoa
  • 500g butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped into 2cm pie
  • 200g vac-packed chestnuts
  • 2 springs of rosemary
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 large field mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 60g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 120g dried apricots, chopped
  • 150g mixed unsalted nuts, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 40g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

FOR THE SPICED TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 3 red chillies, halved lengthways but joined at the stalk
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 15g fresh thyme
  • 2 large roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 2 x400g tins of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°C/gas 4.

Scrunch up a wet sheet of greaseproof paper and use to line all sides of an oiled 1.5 litre loaf tin. Leave an overhang at the ends so you can lift the roast easily out of the tin later.

Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the pack, drain, then leave to cool in a large bowl.

Put the butternut squash, onions and celery into a large roasting tray, crumble in the chestnuts, strip in the rosemary leaves, add the paprika, oregano, a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and 2 tbsp of olive oil, then toss well. Roast for 40 minutes, adding the mushrooms for the last 10 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven and tip the vegetables into the quinoa bowl. Finely grate in half the lemon zest, add the breadcrumbs, then add the apricots and nuts. Add the eggs and mix well, then transfer to the lined loaf tin, piling it up high. Roast for 45 minutes, or until golden.

Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a roasting tray set on the hob over a medium heat. Add the chillies and cinnamon stick and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Remove the chillies and cinnamon and set aside, then add the garlic and most of the thyme leaves and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, tomatoes and a tin full of water, breaking the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon, then add the balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.

Lift the nut roast out of the tin and sit into the sauce, discarding the paper. Sprinkle over the cheese and place one of the chillies on top with a few thyme sprigs and drizzle with a little oil. Return the rest of the chillies and the cinnamon to the sauce and roast for a final 15 minutes, then leave to sit for 5 minutes. Finely chop and stir the chillies into the sauce (according to taste), then slice and serve.

(Original recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook, Penguin, 2016.)

 

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