I have made over a hundred variations on this nut roast since meeting Mrs J, who, along with my mother in law, is a lifelong vegetarian. This festive version is one of our favourites – and I make enough to share with the carnivores at our table, because everyone invariably wants a bit! (I’m typing this on my phone on the way out of the BBC Woman’s Hour studios where I realised in a panic that I had just banged on for 15 minutes about my nut roast but hadn’t published the sodding recipe anywhere, so please forgive any spelling errors or whatnot).
Serves 8 from 42p each
200g mixed shelled nuts, 70p (70p/200g, Asda)
180g vacuum packed chestnuts, £2.25
1 tbsp oil (£1/1l, Asda)
A pinch of salt, <1p
1 large onion, finely chopped, 9p (60p/1kg, Farm Stores at Asda)
4 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped, 6p (50p/3 bulbs, Asda)
6 tbsp sage and onion stuffing mix, 15p (38p/170g, Asda)
4 tbsp cranberry sauce or marmalade, 5p (27p/454g, Smartprice at Asda)
100ml apple or orange juice, 6p (55p/1l, Smartprice at Asda)
Tip the nuts and chestnuts into a large pan with a splash of oil and a pinch of salt over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring to gently toast them. When the edges start to go a bit golden, quickly remove them and tip them into your blender. Pulse for half a minute, shake to loosen, and repeat until they are ground down. Some larger pieces remaining are fine – I like a bit of texture. Tip them into a bowl and set to one side.
Now back to your pan. Peel and finely slice the onion and garlic and toss into the pan on low heat and a splash more oil if needed. Cook for 10 minutes to soften, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the toasted and ground nuts, then the stuffing mix, cranberry sauce and orange juice. Stir well to combine.
Lightly grease a loaf tin and set the oven to 160C. Transfer the mixture into the loaf tin and press down into the corners and edges. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and turn the heat up to 180C for 20 minutes to crisp and brown the top.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3 days or frozen for 3 months.
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All text copyright Jack Monroe.
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