Nut roasts used to have a terrible reputation as they were usually devoid of flavour and quite often lacking moisture. I can remember taking over control of a kitchen and perused the menu on offer to vegetarians, asked about the preparation and instantly knew I’d have to re-vamp it.
This dish is quite versatile and the cranberry topping can be changed to make it less ‘festive’ so you can always use a herbed parmesan crust instead. It’s also a great side dish for a dinner party.
First up, add the dried mushrooms into a small bowl and cover with 200mls of boiling water and leave to stand for 20 minutes
Now time to make the soubise; a mixture of onion and rice so par boil the rice in salted water for 5 minutes and then strain and rinse
While the rice is going, melt the butter in a large pan over a low heat and gently fry the onion, celery and carrot for 10min until softened before adding in the garlic and cooking for a further minute
Now add the par boiled rice to the pan with onions, celery and carrot and give a stir before adding in the vegetable stock. Bring this to a gentle simmer and cover with a lid to fully cook for about 30 minutes
Whilst the soubise is cooking start making the mushroom Duxelle. Drain the soaked mushrooms and reserve 150 mls of the soaking liquid which will be packed with flavour. Chop the soaked mushrooms and add to a new frying pan with melted butter and the chopped fresh mushrooms. Give it a stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the white wine and reduce to almost dry as we just want the flavour and then add in the reserved mushroom liquid and reduce to almost dry again before adding the cream and reducing by half
The soubise and duxelle should now be ready so remove both from the heat and allow to cool
In a large bowl, add the breadcrumbs, chestnuts, cheese, beaten eggs, thyme and parsley and give a good mix. Tip in the soubise and duxelle mixture and combine well
In a pan, add the cranberries and the orange zest with 1 Tbsp of water and bring gently to the heat. You want to 'pop' the cranberries and release some juice. This should take about a minute or two. Remove from the heat and allow to cool
Preheat the oven to 180C
Using a loaf tin, oil the inside to reduce the risk of sticking and then cover the bottom in the cranberry and orange zest mixture. Spoon the mushroom mixture on top and press down firmly so there are no gaps along the sides. Cover the loaf tin with foil and bake for 1hr before removing the foil for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving
You can make this in advance and warm back through before you want to serve. Just ensure you still allow some resting time