Persian Nut and Pomegranate Roast
Who says you have to have a meat roast at Christmas? Nut roasts are a wholesome alternative that can easily be made vegan as well.
Serves 8 Total Time 2hrs
- 125g dried cranberries
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
- 2 red onions, finely sliced
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of chilli flakes
- Olive oil
- Pinch of saffron
- 1 x 250g pouch cooked grains
- 200g tin chickpeas, drained
- 200g shelled pistachios
- 100g almonds, toasted
- 100g hazelnuts, toasted
- 200g goat’s cheese or feta, crumbled
(remove for vegan version)
- 2 eggs, beaten
(or 2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 6tbsp hot water)
- 25g butter/ dairy-free spread
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, bashed
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 2 tbsp mixed seeds
- Zest of 1 orange
- Pomegranate seeds
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 6 shallots, finely sliced
- 2 cloves
- 2 cardamom pods, bashed
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp soft brown sugar
- 100ml dry white wine
- 600ml vegetable stock
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180° fan/gas 6. Grease and line a 25cm springform tin. Soak the cranberries in boiling water.
- Toss the squash, onions, cinnamon and chilli with olive oil to coat, then transfer to one or two roasting trays. Roast for 40 mins, until soft and caramelising.
- Mix the saffron with 1tbsp boiling water. Add to a large bowl along with the grains, chickpeas and 150g pistachios.
- Blitz the almonds and hazelnuts in a food processor and add to the bowl. Stir in the cheese, if using. Drain the cranberries and add them too.
- Remove the squash and onions from the oven (leave the oven on). Sash half of the squash until smooth, then tip into the bowl of grains and chickpeas.
- Taste and season before adding the eggs. Stir, then put the mixture into the prepared tin and flatten the top with a spoon.
- Cook in the oven on the middle shelf for 50–55 mins until the top is slightly crispy and the centre feels firm to the touch.
- Meanwhile, make the gravy. Add the olive oil and shallots to a pan with a pinch of salt and cook for 12–15 mins, until soft and golden.
- Add the spices and toast for 1 min before stirring in the flour and sugar. Cook for a couple of mins, then pour in the wine/ cider and stock.
- Bring to the boil, then simmer for 25 mins until the gravy has thickened.
- 10 mins before the roast finishes cooking, melt the butter in a small tin, add the coriander seeds, honey and remaining pistachios and cook in the oven for 5 mins.
- Add the seeds and zest, return to the oven for 3 mins, season with salt, then set aside.
- Once the roast is cooked, allow it to cool in its tin for 20 mins before lifting out. Top with the caramelised nuts and seeds, and scatter over the pomegranate.
- Serve warm with the gravy.