A recent Harvard study had great health news for regular nut eaters. If you needed any further excuse, why not try serving Monica's delicious pistachio and cranberry roast for upcoming winter festivities?
Nut lovers had some great news recently. A Harvard study
has found that regular nut eaters were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease. In fact, they were less likely to die of anything!
The results were based on a 30-year study of over 100,000 participants and across the board, the future looks bright for all you folks who enjoy at least seven servings of nuts per week:
29% reduced risk of heart disease
11% reduced risk of cancer
20% reduced risk of death
The benefits were observed across all nuts, including pistachios, almonds, walnuts and peanuts
Nut eaters tend to be slimmer
The news is particularly timely for Thanksgiving, where my favourite way to get a solid dose of nuts onto the holiday table, while also appeasing the palettes of us hungry vegetarians, is by serving a vegetarian nut roast. But this is not your usual nut roast.
Two things make this nut roast special: first, pistachios, which to me are like the Rolls Royce of nuts. Second, the cranberry topping, which really makes this roast look special. You can also bake it in individual muffin tins which are pretty fun and make a nice presentation.
And to really up the nut ante, you can serve this nut roast with cashew gravy
, my favourite gravy ever and one that I've even seen meat eaters it with a spoon.
This roast isn't just for Thanksgiving - bookmark it for Christmas, too. It goes brilliantly with all of the classic side dishes, especially mashed potatoes (yet another delivery device for that cashew gravy).
Pistachio and Cranberry Veggie Roast
A small handful of dried porcini
2 tbsp olive oil
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 red onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
90g risotto rice or pearl barley
60g puy lentils
100ml white wine
500ml hot vegetable stock
200g mixed wild mushrooms
100g pistachios, toasted
100g almonds, toasted
A handful of breadcrumbs from sourdough or ciabatta
50g strong cheddar cheese, grated
225g ricotta cheese
1 red chilli, finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten
2 sprigs each of sage, rosemary and thyme, leaves picked and chopped
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
200g fresh cranberries
Cook the puy lentils in boiling water until al dente, then drain and set aside.
While the lentils are cooking, make the risotto base: Soak the dried porcini in a little boiling water. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan over a low heat. Add the celery and onion and cook for 10 minutes, until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
Turn up the heat and add the rice. Cook for a minute or so until you hear it snap, crackle and pop, then add the wine and stir until absorbed.
Drain the porcini, sieve any grit from the liquid and add this to the risotto pan, stirring until absorbed. Finely chop the porcini and add to the pan.
Add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring each one in until it has been completely absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir as much as you can – this is what will make it creamy. Once the rice is al dente (when you break into a grain, it should be almost cooked through but still have a white fleck in the middle), transfer to a bowl to cool.
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Fry the wild mushrooms in a little olive oil over a medium heat for 5–10 minutes, until they are just starting to crisp. Bash the nuts into coarse pieces, or quickly pulse in a food processor.
Once the risotto has cooled, add all other ingredients except the sugar and cranberries, season, and mix well.
Butter a 20cm loaf tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Cook the sugar and the cranberries in a pan over a medium heat for 1–2 minutes, then tip into the tin and spread evenly. Pile on the nut-roast mixture and pack it down with the back of a spoon.
Cover the whole thing with foil and bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes. Once it’s golden brown on top, remove the nut roast from the oven and leave to settle for 10 minutes.
Use a knife to loosen the tin, then place your serving platter or board on top. Cover your hand with a tea towel and flip the whole lot over, then carefully lift the tin off. Serve with cashew gravy and all the trimmings.
Looks beautiful, can this be made in advance?
25 November 2013