If you are looking for a delicious meat-free alternative to turkey for your Christmas table this year, then this recipe could be just the one for you. With sumptuous flavours from chestnuts, cranberries, parnips, nuts and a whole host of herbs this dish really packs a punch and is sure the please any vegetarian guests you are catering for this Christmas.
Serving size: 4
Prep and cooking time:1.5hours
- 300g chard leaves
- 50g dried cranberries
- 50ml oloroso sherry
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onions, finely chopped
- 200g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 large parsnip, coarsely grated (around 250g/9oz)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 1 thyme sprig
- 150g cooked freekeh
- 100g mixed nuts, roughly chopped
- 100g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 25g/1oz fresh breadcrumbs
- 3 free-range eggs
- 25g butter
For the gravy
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 15g butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- A few thyme leaves
- 250g chestnut or portobello mushrooms
- 100ml oloroso sherry
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 50ml single cream
For the cranberry sauce
- 250ml cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 large orange, juice and zest
- Preheat the oven to 200c/180c or gas mark 6.
- Line the loaf tin with baking paper.
- Wash chard and then blanch in boiling salted water, then drain and leave to cool, when cooled roughly chop.
- Next place the cranberries into a pan and cover with the sherry, bring to the boil and remove from the heat and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan, add the onion and mushrooms cook on a low heat until the liquid has gone, and the onions are soft, add the parsnip and continue to cook until the parsnip and onion has caramelised. Next add the garlic, dried sage, thyme and lemon zest cook for a few more minutes then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Put the freekeh into a large bowl along with the mixed nuts, chestnuts, breadcrumbs, kale and cooked vegetables, mix well and add the eggs, check the seasoning and mix again.
- Spoon into the lined loaf tin and dot over the butter, press down and cover with a layer of greaseproof paper, then place into the oven and bake for an hour or reaches over 75c.
- For the gravy, heat the olive oil and butter in a pan, add the onions and caramelise, add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, then add the thyme and garlic season well. Add the sherry and allow to bubble until its evaporated then add the stock simmer for 10 minutes then add the cream just before serving.
- For the cranberry sauce put the cranberries into a saucepan with the orange juice and the zest along with the sugar. Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat and simmer until the cranberries start to burst. Allow to cool and store in the fridge until needed.
- Turn the nut loaf out when slightly cooled and slice, serve with seasonal vegetables and the lovely gravy along with some of the cranberry sauce.
Delicious – enjoy and a Merry Christmas to you all!