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Persian Nut and Pomegranate Roast

The real joy of a nut roast is the special combination of flavours that all work together to bring you a filling recipe that easily rivals its meaty counterparts. This one’s set apart with hints of spice like chilli flakes and a splash of cardamom gravy.

Serves 8 Total Time 2hrs

Ingredients 

Get the ingredients here

  • 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 

Gravy ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180° fan/gas 6. Grease and line a 25cm springform tin. Soak the cranberries in boiling water. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Mix the saffron with 1tbsp boiling water. Add to a large bowl along with the grains, chickpeas and 150g pistachios.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. Taste and season before adding the eggs. Stir, then put the mixture into the prepared tin and flatten the top with a spoon.
  7. 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. 
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 25 mins until the gravy has thickened. 
  11. 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.
  12. Add the seeds and zest, return to the oven for 3 mins, season with salt, then set aside. 
  13. 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.
  14. Serve warm with the gravy.
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