Courgette and Nut Roast
The problem with most nut roasts is that they end up dry, hard to eat challenges that need loads of gravy. Not so with this nut roast recipe, the courgette and fruits ensure a moist, slightly firm nut roast packed full of flavour.
2-3 courgettes, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 courgettes grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper
50g / 2oz butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
175g / 6oz shelled mixed nuts (hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, whole almonds, etc)
50g / 2oz shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
5-6 dried apricots, thinly sliced
2oz / 50g sultanas
100g / 4oz fresh white breadcrumbs
Grated rind and juice of half a lemon
100g / 4oz mature Cheddar, grated
100g / 4oz frozen or vacuum packed chestnuts
2 eggs, beaten
4tbsp chopped fresh parsley, or 1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
Place the apricots and sultanas in a mug or small bowl and pour over just enough fruit juice to cover, allow these to soak for a few hours, longer the better.
Warm the gill, and lay the sliced courgettes on a baking tray, you can brush a little over if you'd like, sprinkle with just a little salt and grill for a minute or two, then turn over. We're not looking to cook them, but to soften them so they become flexible. While I've usually grilled/toasted them, a half minute in salted boiling water may give the same result.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC / Gas 5.
Line a loaf tin with foil and oil lightly, then use the courgette slices to line the base and sides of the loaf tin, slices going in the same direction. The slices can hang up over the sides, as we will fold over the top of the nut mix.
Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion, celery and garlic and sweat, stirring occasionally, until soft, roughly 10 minutes. Spoon into a large bowl and leave to cool.
Roughly chop all the nuts, not too much, I give them a quick wazz in a food processor.
Drain the juice from the fruit, we want the fruit not the juice in the mix. The juice can be added to a gravy mix, make it a little different and seasonal.
Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl with plenty of seasoning, stir well , make sure it's thoroughly mixed.
Spoon into the loaf tin, pressing the mix down firmly. Fold the ends of courgette slices over the top of the filling and cover with tin foil.
Cook in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes.
Turn out on to a serving plate, remove the tin and foil. Give it ten minutes to set and then carve thick slices to serve. Garnish as you will.
This can be made up the day before and kept in the fridge. It can be double wrapped and frozen, keeping maybe 4-6 weeks. To reheat (thoroughly defrosted if frozen) cover in foil and reheat in a preheated oven – 160c, gas 3, for an hour until hot in the middle. Not so long, or uncovered that it will dry out.
The juice from soaking the apricots and sultanas can be added to a gravy mix, make it a little different and seasonal.
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