This is my ultimate Sunday dinner nut roast. Gone are the days when nut roasts were dry, bland and uninspiring. This rich nut roast is moist and comforting and will make your house smell amazing. If you’re buying nuts from a larger chained supermarket, make sure you’re not getting ripped off. I went to recently to find both brazil nuts and hazelnuts in three different areas of the shop, available at very different prices per kg, and in different sized bags. You’ll usually find them in amongst the fresh vegetables, in the baking section, and along the isle that sells ‘special’ and more unusual ingredients.
1 pack of dried porcini mushrooms
200g chestnut mushrooms
100g wild mushrooms
200g whole cooked chestnuts
125g brazil nuts (shelled)
125g hazelnuts (shelled)
200g fresh breadcrumbs
2 eggs (beaten)
1 handful fresh sage
Salt / pepper
1 tsp flour
Firstly, turn on the oven to 180 degrees and soak the porcini mushrooms in a bowl of hot water and set aside until needed (don’t throw away the water as this will make the base of the gravy).
Chop up the chestnuts into chunks and place in a bowl. With a pestle and mortar, bash up the nuts and dice about 3/4 of the chestnut mushrooms into varying degrees, then add to the bowl. Stir in the eggs, breadcrumbs, chopped sage, salt and pepper. If you are short on time, you could use a blender to combine the ingredients, but I prefer them to be different sizes. Then fold in about two thirds of the porcini mushrooms (don’t throw away the rest).
Slice the rest of the mushrooms (chestnut and wild mushrooms) and fry them in some butter in a pan for about five minutes.
Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Place the fried in the bottom, so they will reveal a nice mushroom pattern when you turn out the loaf. Spoon in the rest of the mixture and pack it in tightly. Fold the baking paper over the top so the loaf stays nice and moist.Place in the oven for about 45 minutes. When the loaf is cooked, tip it upside down onto a chopping board, peel away the baking paper and slice the loaf into good sized portions.
While it’s roasting, fry some garlic in a little oil, finely slice and add the remaining porcini mushrooms to the garlic, add the water the porcini mushrooms were soaking in and a glass of red wine. Season well. Let the gravy reduce. Add a heaped teaspoon of flour to a bit of cold water in a glass, mix well before adding to the gravy to thicken it. By the time the loaf is ready, it should be thick and pungent with an earthy porcini taste.