Thursday, 13 December 2012

quinoa and mushroom loaf (nut roast/turkey substitute)

So, you have someone visit who won't eat the turkey and can't eat dairy or nuts...and they need all their food to be gluten free.  You still want to give them a delicious protein portion to go with their roast potatoes and is a possible solution.

I wrote up a recipe for quinoa, butternut squash and cashew loaf.  Using some of the batch of quinoa I had cooked for this and the cranberries I made a second nut-free version with mushrooms and egg. This is a mild savoury loaf with the mushrooms and quinoa held together by the batter produced from the flour and egg.  The quinoa texture is still discernable.  Test the flavour when you have made the mixture by frying a small amount.  Add more seasonings if you want a punchier flavour.

The quinoa, mushrooms and egg as well as the lentils in the flour combine to make this a high protein dish.

It is always a good idea to have an alternative to turkey as people may be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or just not like turkey.  I had a look at a few recipes on the internet, including the useful evaluative series at the Guardian. I wanted to use roasted butternut and cashew, so also looked at the River Cottage nut roast.  I also fancied including cranberries, and found this pretty-looking recipe from Jamie Oliver.  I wanted this dish to be a complete protein source - it seems to me that too often the vegetarian option in restaurants hasn't thought through either the flavour balance or the nutrient balance.

I cooked a whole 300g bag of qunioa, rinsing thoroughly first, to make both recipes.
I cooked 300g of fresh cranberries for a couple of minutes with the juice of a satsuma, 1tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp chilli jam.  This was used in both recipes.

325 cooked quinoa (all that was left)
250g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 eggs
1 tbsp soy sauce (check gf- I use Sanchi Tamari)
pinch mixed herbs
1 red onion, chopped
50g flour ( 40%urid, 40%tapioca, 20%cornmeal)

Cook onions over gentle heat until soft.  Lift out of oil and use the same oil to cook the mushrooms until softened.  You may need to do this in batches.  Add more oil if needed. Cook the garlic in with the last batch of mushrooms.

Mix all the ingredients together.  The flour and egg will give a cakey mix to hold the quinoa and mushrooms together.

Dollop mixture into the prepared mini-loaf tins with cranberries at the base or cook in a large loaf tin lined with baking parchment.

Cook at 180C for 25 minutes.

This is very good cold.  It holds together well so would make a good lunch box or picnic food.

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