I wasn’t intending on sharing this meal as a recipe post as it was my own Christmas dinner and an experiment of sorts. You see, It was my very first ever attempt at a nut roast and while I concede that I could have done a few things differently, I thought it came out rather well. So I plated it up, quickly snapped a couple of photos and here you have my Wild Mushroom and Nut Roast with Jamie Oliver’s vegan gravy (minus the Marmite). Does anyone really like that stuff? I served it up with freshly steamed green beans and homemade mashed potatoes. I make mine very simply, with vegan margarine, almond milk and seasoned with salt and pepper.
But let’s take a step back to where this idea all began. Chestnuts. My local grocery store had a huge basket of whole, fresh chestnuts on display and I couldn’t resist. Had I ever even seen a chestnut before? Nope. But it looked fun, so I bought a pound of them. I immediately got on YouTube seeking a way to roast these (not over an open fire).
There are many varying opinions on the best way to roast these, but I decided the one that made sense to me was to soak for 2 hours in water, drain, and score with a very sharp serrated knife. This sounds easier than it is and quite frankly, was where the romance of roasting at home began to fade for me. I also found that there was a fine line between perfectly roasted chestnuts and well, chestnuts that were either not cooked enough or cooked too much. Grrrr… The ones that peeled, peeled perfectly! And can I just mention how rough this was on my fingers? In the end, I wished I had just purchased the ready to eat chestnuts. Live and learn.
While I must admit, purchasing vacuum-packed or jarred ready-to-eat chestnuts is not nearly as nostalgic and/or romantic a notion as roasting your own, I highly recommend this option. At least you won’t burn your fingertips trying to peel them 😉 If you can’t find them in your local or specialty grocery store, I found many to choose from on Amazon.
My recipe for this nut roast very closely resembles a chestnut mushroom stuffing. You can certainly get creative and use your favorite ingredients here. Onion, celery, leek, mushrooms, chestnuts, walnuts, a little white wine, vegetable broth and of course, seasoned cubes of bread. I save the last few slices of loafs, cube them up and freeze until I need them. Once at room temperature, just place in the oven on low heat to dry them out. I used a flax meal mixture as a binder which also adds to that nutty flavor.
If you try this Wild Mushroom and Nut Roast, any variation of it, or have a favorite of your own, let me know in the comments below. I am definitely going to keep working on perfecting this recipe. You can also snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @theveglife1 I always love seeing your creations 🙂