December 17, 2008

Vegetarian Holiday Dinner How-To Video.

How to Make a Veggie Holiday Feast everyone will Love.

Why do we here at elephant journal dot com care about vegetarianism, and veganism? Is it ’cause we’re knee-jerk cliche coast-dwelling white liberal yuppies? Or is it ’cause we’re into compassion and health and the environment? Or is it ’cause we’re girly men, or spiritual towel-wearing mountaintop-dwelling ascetics? None of the above: it’s because we like to be difficult—especially come the Holidays, when mum and pops are slaving away making a great meal for everyone but us, the selfish bastards.

And so, lo’ and behold, in swoops our Brit friends with this winning solution to keepin’ the Peace on Earth with an actually yummy veggie Holiday feast that’s more than the usual what-everyone-else-is-eating-minus-the-good-stuff:

It’s hard not to notice that a lot of veggies seem to come off second best at Christmas time – Tom Norrington Davies’s piece in today’s G2 recognises this sad fact. Thankfully most carnivores are over the ‘burn those lentil-loving heretics at the steak (sorry, stake)’ attitude, but that doesn’t mean they know what vegetarian dish to cook. So what I have for you, ladies and gentlemen, is a dish of such intense yumminess that even the meat-eaters will be reaching for it…read the rest here.

Here’s the link to the vid.


1 small butternut squash
1 head garlic and a couple of cloves
A pinch of chilli flakes
2 red onions, thick sliced
Big handful of flat leaf parsley, washed and chopped roughly
1 tin white beans, drained
250g oyster mushrooms, trimmed and washed
A knob of butter
A hefty splash of sherry vinegar
150g cooked chestnuts (the ones in a vac-pack)
Half a head of cauliflower
Half a beetroot (not essential)
4-5 sage leaves, chopped small
Good nugget Parmesan, grated
120ml double cream
A few scrapings of nutmeg
1 large leafy head Savoy cabbage
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F.

Peel the butternut squash, halve lengthways and scrape out the seeds.

Cut into rough 3cm chunks, tip onto a roasting tray, drizzle on some plain olive oil and season well with salt, pepper and chilli flakes.

Slice the root off a bulb of garlic and peel off the dry outside leaves. Scatter al the cloves, still unpeeled, on with the squash and give it all a quick roll-around with your hands.

Put in the oven and roast for about half an hour, moving all the pieces around halfway through.

On the hob heat a biggish heavy-bottomed pan and fry the red onion, oyster mushrooms and the last two cloves of garlic, chopped, in a healthy splash of olive oil with a knob of butter in it.

Let these fry for about 5-7 minutes over a high heat – you want them to be softened and just browning round the edges but still with plenty of bite.

In a bowl smash up the drained beans a bit, either with a masher, fork or just your hands. Stir in the chestnuts, sliced, salt and pepper, the sherry vinegar (to taste) and a glug of the best extra virgin in the house. Stir half the chopped parsley into the mushers and the other half into the beans.

Now individually take the leaves off the cabbage, not by snapping them but by cutting through base of the leaves at the central stalk. Take off about a dozen leaves, then cut the stalk out of each one and cut the big ones in quarters and the smallers in half.

Put a one big leaf at the bottom of a dish about 23 x 10cm – I used Pyrex as it’s nice to see the layers.

Spoon on the bean mix, spread it out and push down a bit with the back of the spoon.

Now lay on another layer of leaves, followed by the seasoned mushroom mix, followed by another patchwork of Savoy.

Cut the central stalk out of the cauli, slice the florettes about 1cm thick and then arrange them to make the next layer. Season, and then top with more cabbage leaves.

Somewhere round about now the butternut will be ready – should be pretty much soft, but still with structure. Pick out the garlic cloves and as soon as they are cool enough to handle pick out the roasted garlic and put it back in with the squash. Run over the whole lot with a masher to make a coarse mash, and stir in the sage. This forms your last layer.

On top of this grate the beet and Parmesan, which you roughly spread out over the surface, then drizzle the cream all around the circumference saving a last splosh for on top.

Foil tightly, put on a tray just in case she o’er flows and whack in the oven for half an hour, then whisk the foil off and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Sit for five minutes …

Job done!

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