Squash, Quinoa, Chestnuts & Spiced Tomato Sauce
by Jamie Oliver from Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook (Penguin Michael Joseph) Photography: David Loftus
A good old faithful, nut roast has become the cliché for veggie Christmas dinners these days. So, I decided to celebrate that and share my most scrumptious take on this vegetarian classic, for all of you out there who love and adore it.
1hr 45 min
500g butternut squash
2 sticks of celery
200g vac-packed chestnuts
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 large field mushrooms
60g fresh breadcrumbs
120g dried apricots
150g mixed unsalted nuts
4 large eggs
40g mature Cheddar cheese
SPICED TOMATO SAUCE
3 fresh red chillies
1 stick of cinnamon
2 cloves of garlic
½ a bunch of fresh thyme (15g)
2 large peeled roasted red peppers
2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/gas 4. Scrunch up a wet sheet of greaseproof paper, then use it to line all sides of an oiled 1.5 litre loaf tin, leaving a bit of overhang at the ends to help you lift out your nut roast later.
Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions, drain, tip into a mixing bowl and leave to cool. Meanwhile, wash and deseed the squash, peel the onions, trim the celery and chop it all into 2cm chunks. Place in a large roasting tray, crumble in the chestnuts, strip in the rosemary, add the paprika, oregano, a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of oil, then toss well. Roast for 40 minutes, roughly chopping the mushrooms and adding for the last 10 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and tip everything into the quinoa bowl. Finely grate in half the lemon zest, add the breadcrumbs, then chop and add the apricots and nuts. Crack in the eggs and mix well, then transfer to the lined loaf tin, piling it up high. Roast for 45 minutes, or until golden and gnarly.
With 30 minutes to go, make the sauce. On the hob, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a roasting tray on a medium heat. Leaving them joined at the stalk, halve the chillies lengthways, then add to the tray with the cinnamon for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, peel and slice the garlic. Scoop the chillies and cinnamon out of the tray and put aside, then add the garlic, strip in most of the thyme leaves and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, chop and add the peppers, pour in the tinned tomatoes and 1 tin’s worth of water, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, then add the balsamic and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.
Lift the nut roast out of its tin and sit it in the sauce, discarding the paper. Grate over the cheese, pop a chilli on top with the remaining thyme sprigs and drizzle with a little oil. Return the other chillies and cinnamon to the sauce. Roast for a final 15 minutes, then leave to sit for 5 minutes. Finely chop and stir as much of the chilli as you like into the sauce, slice up the nut roast and tuck in.