Sweet potato and Pecan Nut Roast

Nut roast is a classic vegetarian dish over the festive season, but it’s reputation is not so great! For me nut roast was always dry, flavourless, boring and overall unappetising. However, the sweet potato adds moisture and the apricots and roasted pecans add lots of flavour!

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato (approx 300g-330g)
  • 100g naturally dried apricots
  • 100g of mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 250g of pecans
  • 100g of chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs, finely chopped
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 50g of buckwheat flour
  • 100g of ground almonds
  • 100ml of water
  • salt and pepper

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Preheat the oven to 170C fan/190C/gas mark 5.

Chop the apricots into small pieces, roughly the size of raisins, place in a bowl and cover with 100ml of hot (not boiling) water. It is better to buy whole dried apricots rather than pre-chopped apricots as they usually use lots of preservatives to keep them fresh. Leave the apricots to one side.

Peel and chop the sweet potato into medium chunks and boil in a saucepan for 15-20 minutes, or until soft enough to mash. While the potatoes cook, on a baking sheet spread out the pecans and roast for about 8 minutes. Leave to cool, and then separate about 75g of the pecasns, leaving them to one side. Roughly chop the rest and again leave to one side. When the potatoes are ready, drain away the water, mash them with a fork or potato masher and leave to one side.

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Add to a large mixing bowl the buckwheat flour, ground almonds, 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, chopped herbs, chopped pecans and the mashed sweet potato.

Next pour the apricots that have been soaking through a sieve over another bowl. We want to keep both the apricots and the syrup. Put the apricot syrup to one side and add the apricots to the large mixing bowl.

Heat a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil on a high heat. When hot, add the mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt and cook for about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and chestnuts and cook for 3-4 minutes, making sure to stir everything. When ready, pour into the mixing bowl with everything else and stir. You may find it easy after a while to use your hands. Put this mix to one side.

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Line  your loaf tin with parchment paper. Take the 75g of pecans you put aside and break them apart with your hands. Sprinkle them over the bottom of you lined loaf tin. Mix 1 tablespoon of maple syrup with the apricot syrup you put aside, and pour it into the loaf tin, leaving about 1 tablespoon to pour over the nut roast at the end. Mix the pecans around in the tin, making sure they get evenly coated, and finally make sure they are evenly spread out.

Spoon your nut roast mix into the tin and gentle press down. Place in the oven for 45 minutes, and leave to cool for 20 minutes.

Carefully place a plate on top of your loaf, and flip upside-down. Remove the tin and peel off the parchment paper. Drizzle with the remaining apricot syrup and serve up! This goes great with a side of my honey glazed sprouts, pecans and grapes, sweet cranberry sauce and crispy roast potatoes. Enjoy!

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