served with broccoli and fennel seeds
This makes a really indulgent dinner perfect for a winter’s evening. The supportive energy of astragalus weaves with the nuts, beans and other plants to form a nutritional bedrock and the cheese is just because it’s so yummy. The rose water brings a gentle depth to the flavor and is gorgeous medicine for the heart song.
The cheese can be adapted or can be left out, as can the eggs, flour and breadcrumbs.
We made this dinner as a transitional dish after the heaviness of the Christmas feasts. Not quite ready to let go of the indulgences but needing to start moving in a healthier direction, this worked a treat.
The Main Mix:
– 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (organic if you have it), plus extra for the tin and for drizzling
– 1 celery stick, finely chopped
– 2 leeks, or 1 big one, halved and sliced
– 400g can cannellini beans (or whatever is handy), drained and rinsed
– 80g pistachios , finely chopped
– 50g sundried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
– 80g parmesan or whatever your favorite hard cheese is
– 1 tsp cumin powder
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– 1 tsp mixed herbs
– 50g fresh breadcrumbs
– 2 large eggs, beaten
– 50g plain flour
– ½ small bunch of fresh , finely chopped
– 1 tbsp toasted mixed seeds
– 1 tbsp of astragalus powder
– 20ml of pure food grade rose water
For the cheese stuffing:
You can adapt this filling easily if you are avoiding cow’s milk or if you are vegan. Home made herbal pesto also works nicely here.
– 100g feta chesse, crumbled
– 2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
– 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
– 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
– Zest of 1 lemon
– 300g purple sprouting broccoli
– ½ tbsp fennel seeds , crushed
– Salt and pepper
Oil a standard loaf tin and then line it with baking parchment. Heat some of the oil in a frying pan, tip in the finely chopped celery and leek, and gently fry them for 10 mins until both are softened and translucent.
Roughly mash the beans in a large bowl (a fork works fine). Stir through the fried celery and leek, pistachios, sundried tomatoes, parmesan, spices, herbs and powders, breadcrumbs, eggs, flour, rose water and parsley. Season well, and stir. You can adapt the filling as needed – linseeds and olive oil will negate the need for eggs to bind the mix if you’d like to make it vegan. Also, linseeds and gluten free flours are an option for those avoiding wheat.
For the cheesy stuffing, mash up the feta with the mascarpone and combine it with chives, dill and lemon zest. Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Pat half the bean and nut mixture into the tin and use a spoon to press out a channel along the middle, an inch wide. Spoon the cheese mixture into the channel, then pat down the remaining bean and nut mixture over the top and around the sides to cover it. Cover the batch in foil and bake for 50 mins or up to 1 hr until firm to the touch.
Toss the broccoli in a baking tray with the crushed fennel seeds. Season and roast on the lower shelf of the oven for the last 20 mins of the cooking time, or until crisp at the edges.
I served this with some Purple Cabbage & Purple Carrot Kimchi and it was lush, but chutneys would be lovely as well. Dig in 🙂