Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Vegan Nut Roast and Gravy

So, it's December and time for a Rocket Bean nut roast (in plenty of time for Christmas), the best thing about this recipe is that it can be prepared well in advance (it should keep for around 3-4 days in the fridge) and served cold with hot gravy on the day for minimum effort. This recipe will make enough for 4 generous servings. Serve with all of the (veggie) trimmings.


For the Nut Roast-

For this recipe you will require a loaf/roasting tin for cooking the roast.

Oil, for frying
2x Small Onions, grated or chopped
3x Cloves Garlic, grated
4-6 Medium Mushrooms, finely chopped
200g Plain Flour
200g finely chopped Nuts (I'll be using a mixture of Cashews, Walnuts and Brazil Nuts)
300ml of Veg Stock
1x Slice of Bread, Made into Breadcrumbs
Dash of Dark Soy Sauce
Dash of (Vegan) Worcestershire Sauce
A Selection of Dried Herbs (My choice for this recipe is Rosemary, Sage and Oregano - roughly 1x tsp of each)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Extra Oil, for greasing the roasting tin

For the Gravy-

Oil, for frying
Onion, roughly chopped
2x garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4x Mushroom, Sliced (This makes for a creamier gravy)
1x heaped tbsp plain flour
1x tsp Marmite (or similar yeast extract)
450ml Veg Stock
1x tsp Dark Soy Sauce
1x tsp (Vegan) Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method - Firstly prepare your ingredients for the roast, the nuts can be purchased pre-chopped but I prefer to do it myself as you can have more choice over what mixture of nuts go into the roast.

Heat some oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add in the onion, garlic, half of the mixed herbs and heat for around 8-10 minutes stirring frequently. Next add in the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes until they begin to soften. For breadcrumbs I tend to lightly toast one slice of bread and then chop very finely. Add the nuts, breadcrumbs and the rest of the mixed herbs to the mixture and cook for around 5-10 minutes at a low heat (this is not essential but I think the nuts have a better flavour if they are browned in the pan before adding the stock). Next add in the 300ml of veg stock, soy and worcestershire sauce and stir well.

This next part of the recipe is very similar to the burger recipe posted on Rocket Bean back in October. In order to thicken up the mix you need to gradually stir the 200g of flour into the mix, adding about 1 heaped tbsp at a time, ensuring to mix well after each spoonful added.

This is the messy part, so it is generally a good idea to preheat the oven to 140°c and grease the roasting tin before getting your hands dirty. Turn the mixture out onto a floured board, sprinkle some extra flour on top of the mix and knead it into one large 'patty' shape. See image below. 

Turn the floured mixture into the roasting tin and press into shape using your hands. Place in the oven, I find that the best method for cooking this roast is at a low temperature for a long time, around 1hr30mins to 2hrs. This allows the sticky mixture to dry out somewhat. However, leaving it to cool before serving can also help in the 'drying-out' process.

Note: If you don't have time to slow cook the roast preheat the oven to 180°c and cook for around 30-40 mins until golden brown. I just prefer the outcome when slow cooked.

Take your time to carefully remove the nut roast from the tin, I find the best method is to carefully pry the sides away from the tin using a spatula and then overturning the tin onto a plate and gravity generally does the rest. 

Now for the gravy, which is a personal take on a brilliant recipe for a vegan gravy from vegetarian cookery writer Rose Elliot.

There's no need to finely chop anything for this recipe as you can blend the final mixture for a rich, creamy gravy.

As before, fry the onions and garlic in oil at a medium heat for around 5 mins until they begin to soften, now add in the mushrooms and sprinkle over your plain flour allowing the onions to brown from the flour. It is important to make sure you keep stirring this mixture as the flour can make the onions become very sticky and in turn they will stick to the base of the pan if left for too long.

Now reduce to a low heat and add in the veg stock, Marmite, soy, worcestershire sauce and allow to simmer gently for 10 minutes. Then, transfer the mixture to the blender and blend until smooth. The mixture can always be thinned down with water and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper after completion if you feel that the final outcome is too thick. The gravy can also be refrigerated for a day few days and reheated in a pan or the microwave.

Christmas Dinner - Vegan nut roast and gravy served with roast potatoes, roast parsnips, sprouts and broccoli. A little personal addition here is a touch of mint sauce, you can always substitute this with cranberry sauce to make it feel that little bit more Christmassy.