Vegan Hazlenut Roast

This Christmas will be my first as a vegetarian. And as we don’t normally have a roast dinner all that often, it has left me wondering what I would have with ‘all the trimmings.’ So I have been looking forward to trying out a few new things for the main dish, instead of the turkey as normal. Have you tried a nut roast before?

If you are veggie, vegan, or just want to have more than one option on the table this Christmas, then this hazelnut roast could be worth giving a go. This nut roast is very special – it really tastes of nuts, and the gravy is made using long, slow cooking methods to achieve a beautiful depth and complexity of flavour. It is a lot of work to make all the elements, but they can each be made up to three days ahead and reheated when needed. Or you can make just the nut roast and gravy and add accompaniments of your choice.

 

Hazelnut Roast

Serves: 4

FOR THE NUT ROAST

  • 1 large celeriac (at least 900g/2lb to give 500g (1lb 2oz) peeled)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled but whole
  • 25ml (1fl oz/5 tsp) rapeseed oil
  • 8g (¼oz/1½ tsp) sea salt
  • 100g (3½oz/¾ cup) hazelnuts
  • 100g (3½oz/¾ cup) cashew nuts
  • 50g (1¾oz/1/3 cup) sunflower seeds
  • 30g (1¼oz/¼ cup) cornflour
  • 15g (½oz/1 tbsp) wholegrain mustard
  • 1/8 nutmeg, grated
  • rapeseed oil

FOR THE POTATO GALETTE

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 8g (¼oz/1½ tsp) sea salt
  • 150ml (5fl oz/2/3 cup) water
  • rapeseed oil

FOR THE CIDER GRAVY

  • 25ml (1fl oz/5 tsp) rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 250g (9oz) button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 turnip, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, skin on, smashed
  • 0.5g (¼ tsp) caraway seeds
  • 15g (½oz/1¼ tbsp) caster sugar
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) cider vinegar
  • 250ml (8½fl oz/1 cup) cider
  • 20g (¾oz/4 tsp) tomato purée
  • 2.5g (½ tsp) yeast extract (such as marmite), or 5ml (1 tsp) soy sauce)
  • 750ml (26fl oz/3 cups) water, plus extra for flour paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 20g (¾oz) dried mushrooms
  • 3g (½ tsp) sea salt
  • cornflour

FOR THE CELERIAC

  • 1 large celeriac (celery root) (atleast 1kg/2¼lb) or several smaller ones, skin and roots removed
  • 100ml (3½fl oz/scant ½ cup) cider gravy (see above)
  • 100ml (3½fl oz/scant ½ cup) water
  • 3g (½ tsp) sea salt

FOR THE CIDER-POACHED APPLES

  • 150g (5½oz/¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 150ml (5fl oz/2/3 cup) water
  • 250ml (8½fl oz/1 cup) dry cider
  • 3g (½ tsp) sea salt
  • 3 Granny Smith apples (or other tart variety), peeled

FOR THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 20 Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut in half and outer leaves discarded
  • sea salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic parsley oil

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to (fan) 160°C/180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Prepare the garlic parsley oil.
  2. Prepare the nut roast. Peel the celeriac (celery root) and onion and cut into 2cm (¾-inch) chunks. Place in a large bowl along with the garlic, rapeseed oil and 3g (½ tsp) of the salt. Mix everything together, then spread out on a large baking tray (sheet). Cover the tray with tin foil and roast the celeriac (celery root) in the oven for 30-40 minutes until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, put the hazelnuts and cashews on a baking tray (sheet) and roast for 7 minutes or until golden. Put the sunflower seeds in a frying pan (skillet) with a splash of oil and fry until dark golden. Transfer the seeds to a food processor, process until fine crumbs, then put in a large bowl. Put the cashews and hazelnuts in the food processor and pulse to a coarse crumb, with some lumps, then add to the sunflower seeds. Put the onions, garlic and celeriac into the food processor and pulse to a coarse mash. Add to the nuts and seeds and mix everything together. Add the cornflour, mustard, remaining 5g (1 tsp) of salt and grated nutmeg and mix well.
  4. Lay out a 45cm (18-inch) strip of cling film (plastic wrap), then lay another strip on top. Spoon a quarter of the mix onto this and form into a rough sausage shape about 4cm (1½ inches) thick. Fold over the bottom edge of the cling film and roll the mix up to form a sausage about 3cm (1¼ inches) thick. Fold the cling film over and roll the sausage tightly in the cling film. Twist one end of the cling film to tie it closed. Squeeze the air out of the other side and twist the other end to form a tight, round, water-tight sausage shape with no air pockets. Tie closed. Repeat with the remaining mix to make 4 sausages in total.
  5. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the sausages. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, then remove one at a time and plunge into a bowl of ice-cold water. Once cool, transfer to the fridge for at least an hour but ideally overnight, to firm up.
  6. Make the galette. Slice the potatoes and onion very finely on a mandolin, then transfer to a bowl with the salt. Mix well and leave for 30 minutes until soft and pliable.
  7. Line a 900g (2lb) rectangular loaf tin (pan) with baking parchment and layer the potatoes right up to the top. Season well. Add the measured water and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife passes cleanly through the centre. with cider apples, braised celeriac (celery root), potato galette and cider gravy.
  8. Remove from the oven and carefully press down on the foil to compress it. Set aside to cool, then place in the fridge for 2 hours.
  9. Make the cider gravy. Heat the rapeseed oil in a large saucepan until very hot, then add all the sliced vegetables, the garlic and the caraway seeds. Stir well and fry, stirring occasionally, on a high heat for up to 20 minutes until it begins to take a dark colour. While this is cooking, put the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat gently until it melts and forms a golden caramel. Add the vinegar and cook until it evaporates by half, then add the cider and stir.Add the tomato purée and yeast extract to the saucepan with the vegetables. Stir well and then cook for 5-10 minutes until a crust begins to form on the bottom of the saucepan (do not let this burn). Deglaze the saucepan by adding the sugar and cider mix and stir until the crust has dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer until the cider has reduced by half. Add the water, bay leaf, dried mushrooms and salt and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
  10. Make the cider-poached apples. Put the sugar, water, cider and salt into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Using a melon baller scoop as many balls of apple as you can from each apple, taking care not to get the woody core. Turn the cider mix down to a gentle simmer and add the apple balls. Simmer very gently until just beginning to soften, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  11. Once the cider gravy has infused, strain into another saucepan, measure, and bring to the boil. Boil to reduce the sauce to a quarter of its measured volume. Measure the reduction. For every 250ml (8½fl oz/1 cup) of reduction, mix 10g (¼oz/1¼ tbsp) of cornstarch with 20ml (4 tsp) of cold water. Mix the flour paste in and heat gently, stirring to prevent it sticking, until it has thickened. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed. Keep warm until needed.
  12. Prepare the braised celeriac (celery root). Preheat the oven to (fan) 160°C/180°C/ 350°F/gas mark 4. Cut the celeriac into 1cm (½-inch) slices, then cut these into neat triangles or squares. Put them into a small casserole pot and pour the measured cider gravy, water and salt over the top. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until they are almost melting. At the same time, slice the galette into 1cm (½-inch) slices. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and drizzle it with rapeseed oil. Place the slices of potato galette on it so they are covered with oil on the bottom side. Brush the top side generously with rapeseed oil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes turn over each slice – you want an even crispy golden brown colouring all over – and bake for another 10 minutes.
  13. Remove the cling film (plastic wrap) from the nut roast, trim off the ends and cut into 1.5cm (½-inch) thick slices. Line a baking tray (sheet) with baking parchment and lay the nut roast slices on it. Drizzle oil over each slice and put into the oven for 25 minutes to warm through and crisp up.
  14. Heat the rapeseed oil for the Brussels sprouts in a wide saucepan and add the sprouts, cut side down, with a generous pinch of salt. Fry until they go a dark golden colour and then add the garlic parsley oil. Toss to evenly cover them and then turn down the heat and gently cook for 2-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover the saucepan with a lid or plate so they steam in their own juices for 4 minutes.
  15. Lay 3 slices of nut roast on each of 4 large dinner plates to form a stacked line. Add a piece of potato galette, 2 pieces of braised celeriac, 3 or 4 apple pieces and the Brussels sprouts on each plate. Generously drizzle cider gravy over everything and serve hot.

Extra Bit:

Garlic Parsley Oil

This is an immensely useful thing to have in the fridge. Whenever you want to add a bit of depth to a dish just sprinkle this in, cook for a few minutes, and it will make it instantly delicious.

Makes: 200ml (7fl oz/generous ¾ cup)

  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 15g (½oz/4 tbsp) parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 175ml (6fl oz/¾ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • Put all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.

This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.

*recipe used with permission from the book, ‘Plants Taste Better’ by Richard Buckley, £25 Jacqui Small. Photography is by Kim Lightbody.

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