Apart from beer, one of our other great passions is food. Combine the two, and you have a winner! Yes, beer and food pairings have become a bit of a blasé and everyone and their dog seems to be a connoisseur nowadays. Yes, sometimes beer and food pairings can borderline pretentious. But when you match a home-cooked nutroast with a sublime brown ale in the comfort of your own kitchen, it’s a far cry from the ostentatious overachievers overtaking the internet.
The nutroast is a labour of love and you should not go at it light-heartedly. It takes about two hours to prep and cook, so if you’re after a quick snack this may not be the meal for you. The good news is if you invest time and energy into it, it serves easily 5 really hungry diners, more if they’re not that hungry, and it stores well in your fridge. If you’re making this vegetarian delight for yourself, you’ll have tasty grub for days.
- 200g red split lentils
- 450ml vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 100g unsalted cashew nuts
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large or 2 small leeks, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 100g mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 75g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
- 100g wholemeal breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- ½ tsp paprika
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 150ml dry red wine or vegetable stock
- ¼ tsp dried mixed herbs
- Rinse the lentils in a sieve under cold running water. Drain, then tip into a saucepan. Add the stock and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, then cover and cook for 15 minutes until the lentils are soft and pulpy and the stock has been absorbed. Stir once or twice towards the end of to prevent the lentils sticking. Discard the bay leaf.
- While the lentils are cooking, put the cashew nuts in a non-stick frying pan and toast over a moderate heat until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool, then roughly chop. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5. Line the bottom of a 1.4 litre loaf tin with a piece of greaseproof paper.
- Add the oil to the frying pan and cook the onion over a moderate heat for 5 minutes. Remove half the onion and set aside for the sauce. Add the leeks, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in the lemon juice.
- Tip the lentils and vegetables into a mixing bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs, cashew nuts and 2 tbsp of the parsley, followed by the grated cheese and beaten egg. Season to taste, then spoon into the loaf tin. Level the top and cover with a piece of lightly oiled foil.
- Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and set in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out and cutting into thick slices.
- While the loaf is baking and resting, make the tomato sauce. Put the reserved onion and remaining sauce ingredients in a small pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, until slightly reduced. Stir in the remaining chopped parsley before serving with the loaf.
Why did we select Clown Shoes Beers’ Brown Angel? The dark and delightful chocolate and coffee notes from around 700 kilos of Maris Otter malt work perfectly with the nuttiness of the roast. The beer isn’t heavy, though, and the lightness complements the loaf-like texture of the nutroast. It just works.