Whether you are starting to think ahead to Christmas dinner and the logistics of planning for different dietary requirements, or you simply fancy making the most of seasonal Scottish produce this weekend, the Three Nut ‘Meatloaf’ is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Nuts and winter vegetables make the perfect vegetarian roast dinner centrepiece in Jackie Jones’ recipe from The Scottish Vegan Cookbook.
Three Nut ‘Meatloaf’ from The Scottish Vegan Cookbook
Meatloaf, generally made from minced Scotch beef, is a popular Scottish dish and has different regional variations. My plant-based take on it uses three types of nuts which can be grown in Scotland: hazelnuts, walnuts and sweet chestnuts! I can vouch for the fact that walnuts grow in Scotland, as I have seen a walnut tree along the banks of the River Tweed near the Borders town of Melrose.
This nut loaf also contains an optional ‘secret’ Scottish ingredient: whisky! And it includes dried mace, which is often used in old Scottish recipes, but you can use nutmeg instead, if you have it more readily to hand.
Prep time: 20–25 minutes
100g hazelnuts, ground finely
100g walnuts, ground finely
90g roasted sweet chestnuts (these are generally already peeled and vacuum packed, e.g. Merchant Gourmet), chopped finely
100g vegan wholemeal breadcrumbs
1½ tablespoons olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped finely
1 medium carrot, trimmed, scrubbed or peeled, and grated
2 tablespoons peaty malt whisky
225ml vegan stock mixed with 1 teaspoon mushroom ketchup and 1 teaspoon Biona worcestershire sauce (if you have neither, you can use 2 teaspoons of tamari mixed with a little mixed spice and a pinch of muscovado sugar)
1 teaspoon dried oregano, or 3 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped finely
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 3 teaspoons fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped finely
½ teaspoon ground mace or ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23cm bread tin with baking parchment.
Mix together the hazelnuts, walnuts, sweet chestnuts and breadcrumbs in a medium bowl, then set aside.
In a medium pan, heat the oil on a medium heat, add the onion and carrot and sweat until softened – about 10–15 minutes. Add the whisky and cook for a minute or two to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Then add the stock, oregano, thyme and mace or nutmeg, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4–5 minutes.
Add the contents of the frying pan to the bowl containing the nuts and breadcrumbs and mix until well combined. Then season well with salt and black pepper.
Spoon into the baking tin and smooth the surface. Cover with foil to prevent the top from burning while cooking and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil at this stage and bake for a further 20–25 minutes or until the top is brown and nicely crisped.
Serve with skirlie and steamed dark-green leafy vegetables.
Any leftovers can be cooled, covered and chilled, then reheated the next day in the oven at 180°C for 15–20 minutes (covered with foil).
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