Mrs. Myrtleberry’s roast
Nut roast is one of the all-time greats of vegetarian classic food, but if not done well it can be a big disappointment. This recipe originates from a Mrs. Myrtleberry who ran a B&B in Devon. The main adjustment was to toast the nuts, which brings out a wonderful flavour. This is rich, satisfying and chockfull of protein. Serve with a salad or steamed vegetables and a rich tomato sauce or gravy.
1 2/3 c. (400 ml) mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, walnuts)
butter for greasing
3½ oz. (100 g) shallots (about 4 small), finely chopped
14 oz. (435 g) can chopped tomatoes, drained
3 eggs, beaten
5 oz. (150 g) Gruyère or sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp. (5 ml) fresh or ½ tsp. (2.5 ml) dried thyme
2 tsp. (10 ml) fresh sage, chopped or ½ tsp. (2.5 ml) dried sage
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) dried mint
1 tbsp. (15 ml) fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. (5 ml) yeast extract blended with 1 tsp. (5 ml) boiling water or (use 2 tsp./10 ml soy sauce)
1 tsp. (5 ml) fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
herb sprigs, to garnish (optional)
rich tomato sauce or gravy, to serve
Place the nuts in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Toast, stirring gently, until golden and fragrant, taking care not to burn. Remove to a bowl and leave to cool. Whiz in a food processor until very finely chopped; the mixture should still be loose, not a purée.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 1-pound (500-g) loaf pan (about 8-inches/20 centimetres in diameter) with butter, line with parchment paper then grease the paper.
In a large bowl, combine the groundnuts with the shallots, tomatoes, eggs, cheese, herbs, yeast extract mixture, lemon juice and seasoning. Mix thoroughly.
Scoop the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until firm and golden. Cool slightly, then turn out on to a serving plate and peel off the parchment paper. Garnish with herb sprigs and serve with a rich tomato sauce or gravy. Serves 4 to 6.
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