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Hugh’s Vegetarian Christmas Ideas

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Vegetarian Christmas

Once you’ve carved that turkey and helped yourself to the ham, the vegetables can seem a bit of an after-thought at Christmas, but Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is on a one-man mission to make them more than just a bit on the side. Here are his vegetarian – and vegan – festive dishes for Christmas…

Smashed new potatoes with coriander, garlic and bay

Ingredient

10 large-ish new potatoes, or waxy salad potatoes, scrubbed or scraped but left whole

6 bay leaves, torn
6 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, roughly crushed
salt and pepper

Method

1) Put the potatoes, bay leaves and whole garlic cloves in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil then simmer for about 15 minutes until tender.

2) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190C/gas .

3) Drain the potatoes, garlic and bay in a colander. Leave them there for 5 minutes or so to steam-dry. Meanwhile, put the oil into a large roasting dish – large enough to hold the potatoes in one layer, ideally with a little space between them here and there – and put it in the oven to heat up.

4) You now need to ‘smash’ the potatoes. Tip them back into their hot pan (bay leaves and garlic too) and use a heavy pestle, the end of a rolling pin or a potato masher to hit them gently, breaking them up but not crushing them completely. You don’t want mash, but large, rough chunks of potato, with a few smaller bits of spud shrapnel here and there.

5) When the oil in the roasting dish is hot, take it from the oven and tip the smashed potatoes, bay and garlic into it. Add the crushed coriander, season with salt and pepper then toss the potatoes in the hot oil.

6) Transfer the tray to the hot oven and roast for 30-40 minutes until crisp and golden, turning up the heat a little right at the end if necessary. Serve hot.

Vegan Gravy

Serves 4-6

 Ingredients

2 tablespoons rapeseed oil

about 100g (4-5 large) chestnut or open cap mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 large or 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 very large or 2 medium large carrots, peeled, halved lengthways and thickly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 large thyme sprig
1 tablespoon plain flour
750ml hot vegetable stock or water
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons coffee (strong filter or cafetiere coffee is ideal)
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
a splash of cider vinegar (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1) Heat the oil in a large, wide saucepan over a high heat. Add the mushrooms and fry ‘hard’ for 7-8 minutes. Let them cook without stirring to start with, to develop lots of caramelized colour, then stir from time to time. They will release some liquid: keep cooking until this has been driven off and the mushrooms are well reduced and thoroughly browned.

2) Add the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes until it starts to take some colour. Then add the carrots and herbs and cook for a few minutes more until the carrots start to colour too. Keep going till all the veg are well browned. Don’t worry if there’s a bit of sticking and burning on the base of the pan – just give any well-browned bits a shove or a scrape with a wooden or plastic spatula from time to time, to loosen them.

3) Sprinkle in the flour, stir it thoroughly into the veg and cook for a minute or so, stirring regularly.

4) Pour in the hot stock or water, giving it a good stir-and- scrape with a spatula to help release any nice caramelized bits from the base of the pan and amalgamate the flour.

5) Add the celery. Bring up to a simmer and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the veg is just tender. Add the coffee and tamari or soy and take the pan off the heat.

6) Use a potato masher to crush and mash the veg in the pan, in order to extract maximum flavour then pass the gravy through a sieve, pressing the veg to squeeze out all the lovely juices. (No need to waste the veg that’s left in the sieve – eat it as is or serve it ‘re-fried’ with rice).

7) Taste the gravy. Add a touch of salt and pepper, and a little more tamari or coffee, if you like, to give it extra depth. If you want to sharpen it, you can add a teaspoon or two of cider or wine vinegar. Serve straightaway or cool and chill until needed. It may separate a bit when cooled, but it will come back together nicely if you give it a whisk as you re-heat it.

Whole roasted squash with parsnip, apples, chicory and sprouts

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 large squash weighing about 3kg, or two small squash of around 1.5kg each (Crown Prince squash works particularly well)

olive or rapeseed oil
1 orange
about 350g parsnips, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
3 eating apples, cored and roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
4 heads of chicory, thickly sliced
175g Brussels sprouts
squeeze of lemon juice
25g mixed seeds, lightly toasted
salt and pepper

for the spice mix
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
good pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp chopped rosemary

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5.

2) Slice the top off the squash and scoop out and discard the seeds. Trim away some of the flesh around the inside of the opening to make it wider. (Don’t discard these trimmings, or the top of the squash.) Brush the inside of the squash with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Put on a baking tray and roast for 1-1 1/2 hours, until the flesh is tender. (If the squash is cooked before the rest of the roasted veg, cover it with foil to keep it warm.)

3) Meanwhile, put the fennel and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and crush them to a coarse powder. Add the paprika, chilli and rosemary. Finely grate the zest of the orange and add this too. Add some salt and pepper and stir the spice mix well.

4) Remove any peel from the squash top and roughly chop the flesh. Put into a large roasting dish with any squash trimmings. Add the parsnip chunks and the onion. Add 2 tbsp oil and toss the veg in it, then add the spice mix and stir so that the veg is well coated with spices. Put in the oven with the squash and roast for 30 minutes.

5) Slice the zested orange into 8 wedges.

6) Take the parsnip tray from the oven, add the apple, orange wedges, chicory and the garlic cloves and stir so that everything gets a coating of spice. Return to the oven for 30 minutes or until everything is tender and starting to turn golden. Remove the roasted orange wedges and set aside.

7) When the squash is tender, place it on a large, warmed serving platter and heap the roasted veg into it.

8) Slice the Brussels sprouts thinly and put in a bowl. Trickle over a little oil and give them a squeeze of lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Toss together well, breaking up the sprout leaves a bit as you go. Sprinkle the dressed sprouts over the hot, filled squash. Sprinkle the toasted seeds over the top and it’s ready to go. Serve with the roasted orange wedges on the side for squeezing.

Posted in: Around The World, Article

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