From a superb stuffed cauliflower to a juicy jackfruit dish and moreish sides, Cornucopia chef Tony Keogh serves up the perfect plant-based festive feast.
Panko-crusted Jackfruit with Squash Purée & Caramelised Onions
One of the many happy benefits of the increasing popularity of plant-based diets is that once- exotic ingredients are becoming more readily available, as they are adapted to a plethora of inventive dishes. With its meaty texture and neutral flavour, young jackfruit has been turning up in many ‘faux pulled pork’ dishes. Here, we season it with sea veg and spices to resemble a breaded fillet of flaked tuna. This is a sophisticated dish for a smart gathering, especially as the various elements can be prepared in advance.
2 x 400-500g tins of young jackfruit
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100g firm tofu, crumbled
100ml good-quality soya sauce or tamari
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
20g dried wakame, soaked in 120ml water for 30 minutes
2 tsp kelp powder
1 tsp shichimi togarashi (optional, but widely available)
40g panko breadcrumbs, plus extra to coat the jackfruit
1 tbsp cornflour
Salt and pepper
Rapeseed oil, for frying
For the squash purée:
2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
100g creamed coconut, soaked in 400ml hot water
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
For the caramelised onions, to serve:
3 large onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp tamari
For the pickled cucumbers:
Generous pinch of salt
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
1. Consider pre-preparing the squash and onions the day before (the cucumber pickle is best prepared that day). Soak the dried wakame for 30 minutes before using.
2. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF/Gas 5). To make the squash purée, coat the cubes in a little rapeseed oil, spread out on the parchment-lined tray and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until tender. Purée the cooked squash with the melted coconut, water and sesame oil until smooth (in batches, if using a high-speed blender). Season and set aside.
3. To prepare the caramelised onions, heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. When it shimmers, add the onions and brown them for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from catching.
4. Reduce the heat to low and let them sweat, covered, for another 20 minutes. Add the tamari and cook for another 2-3 minutes before removing from the heat and setting aside.
5. To prepare the pickled cucumber, peel the cucumber into strips, discarding the seeded centre (a Y-shaped peeler is perfect for this, but a sharp knife will do). Sprinkle with the salt and set aside for 5 minutes, then squeeze the cucumber to remove excess liquid. Add the vinegar and dill and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
6. To make the jackfruit fillets, rinse the jackfruit and break up the flesh with your fingers. Remove the pointed tips and chop finely. Briefly pulse the shredded flesh and chopped tips in a food processor (you’ll need to do this in batches), then put in a large mixing bowl with all other ingredients except the panko and cornflour. Mix well to combine, check the seasoning and then fold in the panko crumbs and cornflour.
7. Pour a little extra panko onto a dinner plate. Using clean hands, press a sixth of the jackfruit mixture into a barrel shape and roll this in the panko to coat the sides, top and bottom. Flatten the barrel slightly into a rectangular fillet and place it on a second clean plate.
8. Repeat with the remaining mixture, adding more crumbs as needed. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to firm up.
9. To pan-fry the fillets, heat about 1cm rapeseed oil in a pan. When it shimmers, add 3 jackfruit fillets and cook for 3-4 minutes on a medium-high heat, then flip and repeat on the other side. Drain on kitchen paper as you cook the second batch of 3 fillets.
(Alternatively, for a lower-fat version, simply transfer the jackfruit fillets onto a parchment‑lined tray and bake in a preheated oven at 190ºC (375ºF/Gas 5) for around 30 minutes).
10. Reheat the squash purée and caramelised onions. Place a dollop of purée in the centre of each dinner plate and top with a small mound of onions, followed by a jackfruit fillet and finish with some chilled pickled cucumber.
Maple, Orange & Dill Glazed Chantenay Carrots
2 tbsp refined coconut oil
750g chantenay carrots, washed
150ml orange juice
50ml maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
1. Heat the coconut oil in a wide-bottomed pot or medium frying pan, add the carrots and sauté for about 6-7 minutes until beginning to brown; add the orange juice and syrup and lower the heat.
2. Allow the liquid to absorb and reduce slowly: this will cook the carrots through. When the liquid has absorbed, remove them from the heat and stir through the salt and the chopped dill. Serve immediately.
Onion, Port & Beetroot Gravy
2 tbsp oil
3 large onions, sliced
2 bay leaves
150ml tawny port
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 litre of veg stock (home-made or shop-bought)
100g vacuum-packed beetroot, finely diced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp tamari
3 tbsp maple syrup
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. When it comes to a shimmer, add the onions and leave them to caramelise over a medium heat for about 15 minutes.
2. Add the bay leaves, port and garlic along with the stock. Leave it to simmer and reduce for a further ½ hour or so over a low-to-medium heat until the onions are nice and soft.
3. Remove and discard the bay leaf, then remove half the onions and tip them into a blender along with the beetroot, the mustard, tamari, maple syrup and about 100ml water. Blend this to a fine purée and stir it back into the onions. Season to taste.
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