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Ma Evans’ Nut Roast

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!

Have you started your countdown to Christmas? Do you have any family traditions? I grew up in England to a Brazilian father and Chilean mother so our Christmases tended to be eclectic.

Once I become an adult and certainly after I moved to Spain, I started to incorporate more British traditions at Christmas. Now it doesn’t seem like Christmas unless we have a roast dinner with all the trimmings followed by mulled wine and a flaming Christmas pudding.

I’ve been vegetarian for over twenty years so I’ve never eaten turkey. That doesn’t stop me enjoying a traditional roast, instead of the meat I opt for a nut roast. Today I’m sharing my mother in law’s recipe for nut roast. It’s a lot more moist than other nut roasts I’ve tried and its a huge family favourite (including the carnivores who cut big fat slices to go with their roast turkey).

It’s not a quick dish to make, but its very easy. You just need to allow yourself plenty of time to prepare. You can make it the day before and refrigerate or a few weeks before the day and freeze it.

Ingredients

  • 1 and a half cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 and a half cups of walnuts (if you haven’t got walnuts, substitute another kind of nut)
  • half cup of cashews  ( I like using cashews as they go nice and soft, absorbing the flavours well but once again you can substitute – I’ve used Brazil nuts before)
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • half cup of mushrooms, wiped and chopped
  • 1 oz dried shitake or porcini mushrooms soaked for 20 minutes in hot water; and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon marjoram
  • 2  teaspoon  fresh thyme leaves chopped or half teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1  teaspoon sage chopped or a little dried sage
  • 4 eggs well beaten
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (can substitute mozzarella)
  • 9oz grated Gruyère or cheddar cheese

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350F or 180C
  • Start rice cooking and soak mushrooms
  • Roast nuts 5-7 minutes then  chop finely
  • Cook onion in the butter until translucent then season with pinch of salt and add the garlic, chopped mushrooms and herbs.   Cook slowly until the liquid released from the mushrooms has been reduced
  • Leave to cool five minutes then combine this mixture with the cooked rice, nuts, eggs, and cheeses
  • Season to taste with black pepper and a little more salt if necessary (it depends on the saltiness of the cheeses)
  • Lightly butter a loaf tin and line with buttered greaseproof paper. If you haven’t got a loaf tin you can probably use a straight sided soufflé dish but you need the height to slice it and keep it moist in the middle
  • Fill the tin and bake the loaf for 1.5 hours until the top is golden and rounded. The loaf should be firm when you give it a shake.
  • Let the loaf sit at least 10 mins before turning out onto serving plate, then remove lining paper.
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