tIt’s the butt of a thousand weary jokes at the expense of your “woven lentil brigade.” Nut roast may not be as trendy a vegetable staple as whole cauliflower or swede steak, but packed full of fancy nuts, savory mushrooms, and tender, sweet roasted vegetables, it’s a cliche worth reviving.
to equip 25 minutes
cook 1 hour 15 minutes
serves 6 (with escorts)
2 large white carrots
Salt and black pepper
1 Savoy cabbage6-8 outer leaves only
1 red onion
150 grams of chestnut mushrooms
100 grams of peeled and cooked chestnuts
150 grams of hazelnut
40 grams of butterOr 2½ tablespoons of oil
40 grams of cranberry
100 grams of brown bread crumbs
1 small bunch of fresh sagepicking leaves
100 grams of stilton (or vegan or vegan cheese of your choice), optional
½ teaspoon mixed spices
1 eggor 2 tablespoons Marmite (or similar)
1 Cook and mash the parsnip
Peel the parsnips, cut them into roughly equal pieces, and then cook them in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender. Scoop out with a slotted spoon, and place a lid on the pan to keep the water hot for the next step. Drain the parsnips well, then puree or puree until smooth.
2 cabbage blanch
Grease a loaf tin measuring 21cm x 11cm x 7cm with oil, then line it with foil and grease it generously as well. Pull six of the most beautiful outer leaves from the cabbage, wash them and cut off the base. Blanch them in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes and fill a large bowl or sink with ice water.
3 Refreshing cabbage
Scoop the cabbage leaves into the ice water, then check you have enough to set the tin, leaving no gaps; If not, bleach and freshen a few more sheets. Keep the cabbage leaves in ice water while you make the filling – this will keep them as green as possible, which will make the end result more attractive.
4 Start filling
Peel and finely chop the onion, and finely chop the mushrooms and chestnuts, keeping them all separate for now. Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat, then toast the hazelnuts, shaking the skillet regularly, until they begin to color; Be careful not to burn it. Remove the nuts from the pan and leave to cool.
5 Fry the onions and mushrooms
Reduce heat to medium, add butter or oil to skillet, and sauté onions, stirring occasionally, until softened but no longer coloured. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring regularly, until both are tender and the skillet has dried, then toss into a large bowl. Turn off the heat under the pan, but don’t wash it yet.
6 Finish the filling
Chop the hazelnuts into small pieces and add them to the mushroom bowl, along with the chestnuts, cranberries, and breadcrumbs. Finely chop the sage leaves until you get about 2 tablespoons and add to the bowl as well. If using cheese, break it up now, followed by the pureed parsnip and mixed seasonings, then stir briefly so everything is evenly distributed.
7 Add the binding agent
Whisk in the egg, then add it to the filling mixture (alternatively, mix the marmite with 50ml of hot water and stir instead). Season with salt (if using Marmite, back off a bit), then check seasoning by frying 1 teaspoon of the filling mixture and adjusting as necessary. If you are going to cook the roasted walnuts right away, preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C) / 390°F / gas 6.
8 Make the toasted walnuts
Dry fresh, blanched cabbage leaves thoroughly, then use to line the prepared tin, overlapping to ensure there are no gaps and leaving any excess hanging on the sides. Scoop the mixture, pressing it in well, then fold any overhanging cabbage leaves over it. Cover well with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes. (Alternatively, keep it in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours before cooking.)
9 finishing touches
Remove the foil from the top, then grill the loaf, uncovered, for another 15 minutes. Once you’re ready, place a large serving plate over the top of the tin, holding the plate with oven mitts, and invert so the loaf flips onto the plate. Carefully peel off foil, cut into slices and serve.
Fiona Beckett drinks match
Less than £10
I think Torrega Nacional 2021 £7.99 Lidl Wine Tour, 14.5% off. A big red, and tasty, spicy, and a complete deal.
Chateau Tour de Pas Saint-Georges 2017 £15 Selected Co-ops, 14%. Nuts can be as good as mature Bordeaux beef, and this Saint-Émilion is classy stuff.