We loved this – If you are having non-vegan guests for Christmas or any other special occasion, and are keen to impress them, and ensure they have that wonderful satisfied, full feeling after their dinner, then this is the perfect roast to present. When I created this roast I wanted to make something akin to a ‘traditional thinking’ type of roast, but 100% vegan and without compromising the taste – so I wore my wizard hat in the kitchen and got working. The result was outstanding – it worked, boy oh boy, this worked – on every level. Taste, texture, colour, aroma, presentation, you name it, and IT hit the mark. Serve it up with crunchy potatoes (the potatoes are made express, scroll down for the recipe), all the trimmings – roast carrots, parsnips and whichever greens take your fancy, and my Creamy Cognac Sauce to pour over, if you wish. An added bonus – it’s reasonably easy to make, and does not take as long as you may think. Oh, and I forgot to say, it cuts beautifully (no mess).
Tip:- I used 6 dates and 3-4 tsp of agave syrup – as I wanted to marry a slight sweet taste with the savoury flavour, but, since many people’s preference differs, feel free to use a little less – the secret is to taste the mixture before adding the agave. Remember it is designed to be a little sweet. Prepare the filling a day in advance to save time, plus the taste will settle even more overnight. Also, if you have purchased your puff pastry frozen, let it thaw out in the refrigerator on a plate the night before too.
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 large portobello mushroom, chopped
- 1 cup crushed walnuts
- 1½ cups vegan burger processed in blender, or soya mince tvp (I use Linda McCartney Veggiemince myself)
- 2 tsp carob powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- less than ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp marmite (yeast extract)
- 1 tsp fine garlic granules
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 3-4 tsp agave syrup, or dark brown sugar
- ½ cup hot water
- 6 dates, chopped
- 1 cup of grated vegan ‘cheese’ of your choice that melts (optional – just as great without it)
- some fresh parsley, finely chopped
- around 250g vegan puff pastry – buy a ready made brand
First chop all your vegetables. Then, pour the oil in a non-stick saucepan, and heat for a few seconds. Add the onions, and stir for a minute or so, followed by the mushrooms – allow to cook for a few minutes until they soften.
Now add the garlic and the walnuts, stir for a minute or so, and then add the vegan mince (soya, or other of your choice, so long as it’s vegan). Mix until everything blends together, and cover for a few minutes. If the mixture is too dry, add a little olive oil, or a tiny amount of water, and then add the dates.
Next, in a cup add the carob powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, marmite (or other yeast extract), sea salt, agave/sugar, pour in the hot water, and mix well with a teaspoon. Pour this mixture into the mince, and ensure the flavours are properly absorbed. I would lower the heat at this point, and allow the mixture to cook for a further 10 minutes or so. Then taste it for salt, etc. Take off the heat, and leave to cool (around 30 minutes).
Once your mixture has cooled down, it’s time to roll out the pastry. Roll onto a clean surface that has been dusted with flour, into a large circle, approximately 10” in diameter. Then spoon the mince mixture in the centre of the pastry, and place your vegan mozzarella slices and the parsley on top of it. Start rolling the pastry closest to you away from you, and then continue to roll the entire ‘loaf’ away from you until it seals itself, leaving about an inch clear without filling on either side, so that you can close it up. You may need to adjust it a little, so that it resembles a loaf shape, before finally closing the ends.
Grease an oven dish, and carefully lift the loaf into it (I used 2 large metal spatulas). Then, using a sharp knife, score diagonal ‘wedges’ into it, as per picture.
Finally, brush on some dairy-free milk (I used my nut milk), sprinkle on some rosemary, and place in a hot oven 200C for half an hour, or until it’s golden.
Take out, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving onto warm plates. Serve with my Cognac Sauce (see below), that can be made a day ahead (just heat up, and place in a gravy jug), roast veggies and the trimmings, and voila – you have a masterpiece ready for your ultimate pleasure.
Bon Appetit !
EXPRESS CRUNCHY POTATOES
Depending on quantity, I used 2 large and 1 medium potato – place in microwave until softened. A few minutes later, when slightly cooled, peel them with a sharp knife.
Next, cut them up into large pieces, and fry them in olive oil until golden. Remove onto a plate lined with thick kitchen roll, and place in an oven dish. Sprinkle on some garlic salt and rosemary – and place in the oven whilst roast is cooking. Before serving on the table, remove the potatoes with tongs (as they will be hot), and place round the sides of the roast – they will look magnificent !
INGREDIENTS FOR THE PEPPERED COGNAC SAUCE
- 1 cup soya cream, or other vegan equivalent
- 1 tsp vegan margarine
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp mild English mustard
- 1 tsp veg granules/powder
- 1 tsp crushed black pepper
- 1 tsp cognac
- flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (for garnishing)
METHOD FOR THE SAUCE
Place the margarine and garlic in a non-stick pan, and stir on a medium heat for a minute or so. Then slowly start adding the cream, and as it starts to bubble away, add the remaining ingredients. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 2 minutes before serving.
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