50 Days to Fifty – The Nut Roast Legend

Along time ago in a far off land called day 27, a cook decided to create a dish she had never attempted before. Many times she had considered cooking this delicacy, but it was always passed off in favour (or should that be in flavour) of other recipes. She had heard many stories of it’s spectacular taste and texture but would it live up to her expectations.

Today was the day that the legend of the nut roast was going to be told.

Standing in the kitchen armed with a recipe that looked far too complicated and in need simplifying, she set to work her hands. Much preparation was required before any meaningful cooking could begin. She turned the fan oven on to 160C to make sure if was lovely and hot to receive her nut roast offering later. She also lined and prepared what she hoped was a 1.5 litre loaf tin

She finely chopped 1 large onion, 2 sticks of celery, 1 small courgette and 200g of chestnut mushrooms. She then crushed 2 garlic cloves (this may have been 4 as the cook was rather partial to garlic), grated 1 large carrot and 100g of mature cheddar. She then chopped 150g of mixed nuts and prepared 100g of fresh breadcrumbs (this she did in her electric blender!).  She measured 100g of red lentils, beat 3 large eggs, made up 300ml of vegetable stock and set all the ingredients aside.

Her kitchen looked had never looked so chaotic – loads of lovely ingredients placed in different containers around the work surface.  As she was normally a ‘cut and chuck it in’ cook this was a new experience.

Selecting her spices she took out some paprika, oregano, tomato puree and parsley. Now was the moment she had been waiting for – it was time to cook.

This was where everything became a little ‘gung ho’ for the cook as she decided to take matters into her own hands. Surely the legend really didn’t mean she had to cook everything separately and add ingredients at different times.

She placed a tbsp of olive oil and 15g of butter in a large frying pan, added the garlic, paprika and oregano and once hot she added the onion, celery, courgette, pepper and mushrooms. Frying this for about 5 (maybe 10 minutes) when it had all softened nicely she stirred in the lentils and 2 tbsp tomato puree. Finally she stirred in the vegetable stock and allowed the mixture to simmer for long enough that all the liquid was absorbed and the mixture was fairly dry (probably about 15-20 minutes).

The end of the nut roast legend was in site. The cook lovingly mixed in the breadcrumbs, nuts, eggs and cheese, added a pinch of sea salt and lots of pepper (as was her want). The mixture was then pressed into the loaf tin and covered with foil.

The cook baked the nut roast for 30 mins with foil on top and then a further 30 mins without foil. The aroma of the cooking nut roast was mouth watering. Leaving it to cool slightly for about 10 minutes she turned the roast onto a serving plate ready for carving.

Served with a rich tomato sauce and some leafy green vegetables the cook was very satisfied.

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