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Sunday, April 06, 2008

April 2, 2008: Stuffed white nut roast

With the arrival of autumn it's time to slip into some comfort food, I think. Pastry, potatoes and soup are our favourite ways of warming up, but Johanna has prompted me to start instead with a nut roast. We had some success last year with one of Johanna's recipes so it seemed most sensible to join in her current blog event, A Neb at Nutroast, and try a new recipe. Or, even more daringly, an old recipe.

As I mentioned in passing last time, my first nut roast experience a couple of years ago was not a very pleasant one. I had found the recipe on the website of the Vegetarian/Vegan Society of Queensland and decided to cook it for dinner while Michael was off playing sport. Grinding the breadcrumbs and nuts, zesting and chopping and frying took an awfully long time in our poky little kitchen, and then the roast had to bake for an hour! I barely had the energy to pull together some side veges and I was just about ready to cry when the golden, aromatic loaf came out of the oven and then would not separate from the baking paper. I knew, as I chewed and picked paper fragments out of my mouth, that the roast tasted great, but much time would have to pass before I attempted that again.

By now I felt about ready to conquer the stuffed white nut roast, and it proved much easier with Michael at home to assist. He chopped and sauteed while I operated the food processor, and we both mixed and layered and patted it all down. I took extra care to grease the baking paper well, and the roast slid out of it beautifully. It's a very nutty roast indeed, not too stodgy when sliced thinly, brightened with flavours of parsley and lemon. The golden, chewy crust is delicious when it's fresh from the oven but it softens later. Although it doesn't resemble meat at all, the crust and stuffing both reminded me of long distant roast chickens.

We ate this roast on that first night with fresh spinach, sauteed mushrooms and capsicum, and a generous splash of gravy. Since then I've been enjoying it on sandwiches with more spinach leaves and a dab of mayonnaise.


Stuffed white nut roast
(taken from the Vegetarian/Vegan Society of Queensland website, attributed there to Vegan Feasts by Rose Elliot)

3 onions, finely chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons plain flour
300mL water
450g of cashews, blanched almonds and/or macadamias, ground coarsely in a food processor
400g breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons lemon juice
grated zest of the lemon
salt and pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
a handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. You will need a huge bread loaf tin or two smallish loaf tins. Line with baking paper and grease thoroughly.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry 2 of the onions, covered, over low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir them occasionally. The recipe emphasises not allowing the onions to brown at all, but I can't see the harm! I think it's about keeping the roast white. Stir in the flour and then, once it's evenly distributed, the water. Keep cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens.

Take the mixture off the heat. Add the nuts, 225g of the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients: oil, onion, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, dried herbs and fresh parsley.

Pat about half of the nut mixture into the loaf tin(s) and smooth over the surface. Next, spoon over all of the stuffing mixture from the bowl. Finally, layer on the remaining nut mixture and flatten the top gently with the back of a spoon.

Bake the nut roast for about an hour, until lightly browned on the outside and firm in the middle.

10 comments:

  1. The lemon is interesting. I'm guessing the flour and water makes a glue to hold it all together?

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  2. Yeah, that's right - something like a roux base.

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  3. Cindy, I made soy bombs the other day and packed some for Alana's dinner whilst at hospitality on Tuesday night and told her to keep an open mind and taste them before I said what they were and she loved them... they are so yummy but we must work out a way to keep them together!!! Vida x

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  4. You're quick off the mark, Vida! Glad we've won another soy-bomb fan in Alana. :-) I have found in the past that they stick together a bit better straight out of the pan compared to when they've been sitting around a while. Also, deep-frying might help since it would give them a seamless all-over crust. One last idea: cornflour. It worked for these!

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  5. thanks for the nut roast cindy - I don't think i have made a stuffed one before - yours looks like one I would love to make - am so glad you have got past the baked-on paper roasts - I know exactly what you mean as I had it happen before I discovered the pregreased baking paper! And love your sandwich too

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  6. Thanks, Johanna! It was good to have this event as a reminder to try another roast recipe. :-)

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  7. Ooh yum thanks for this recipe - I have always been very adverse to vegetarian roasts (based on some bad experiences early in my vegetarian years) but this one sounds like it may be a winner for me!

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  8. No worries, Penny! I hope it proves to be the recipe you're looking for. Just make sure you have plenty of time and patience before you start. :-)

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  9. Oh, this looks wonderful! I'm a recent convert to nutroast (courtesy of Johanna), so am looking forward to trying this out.

    Great blog, by the way--looking forward to visiting again!

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  10. Welcome, Ricki! Isn't a blog event a great way to discover new people and ideas?

    I hope you'll let us know if you do try this nut roast. :-)

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