It is no secret that parsnips are my favourite root vegetable. They are delicious, versatile and cheap. Last week I tried a new recipe featuring the humble parsnip – a parsnip, chestnut and cranberry nut loaf, which I made as part of a Christmas-inspired dinner. If you’re looking for vegetarian Christmas mains, this is the way to go. Its festive and won’t look out of place next to all the usual trimmings, as well as being fairly simple, filling and delicious.
200g cooked chestnuts (can be bought ready at large supermarkets)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
150g caster sugar
1 tablespoon honey
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan on medium heat and add the chopped onions. Fry until translucent and soft, stirring regularly to avoid browning. Add the sage to fry for the last couple minutes.
Put the chestnuts and walnuts in a food processor and chop finely.
Mix the onion and sage, nuts, beaten eggs and nutmeg in a large bowl.
Put cranberries and sugar into a non-stick pan and simmer with the lid on for 8 minutes on high heat. Make sure you stir it regularly so the sugar doesn’t burn. The cranberries should froth and turn into a sauce.
Peel and boil the parsnips in salted water for 3.5 minutes
Grease a loaf tin and cut strips of parsnips that will fit widthways across the tin (see here).
Take these parsnip strips and coat them with honey and melted butter before placing in the greased tin.
Finely chop the leftover parsnips and add to the nut-onion mixture.
Assemble the loaf by spreading half the nut mixture in the pan on top of the parsnips, then spreading half the cranberry mixture on top and then filling the tin with the remaining nut mixture.
Heat the oven to 180 C and bake the loaf for 1 hour.