|(c) Becca Thorne 2014|
I've never eaten Beef Wellington. Or, if I have, it wasn't as memorable as it maybe should have been. It seems like the ultimate meat-eaters' winter feast - steak, pate, mushrooms, pastry - served with crispy roast taters and a big old pile of hearty cabbage, and smothered in warming gravy. This veggie version is a bit more rough to look at than its meaty forefather, but it still retains the underlying herby, mushroomy flavours that come from the classic duxelles layer and adds the delicious, comforting tummy-hug that can only come from something wrapped in pastry.
I miss having our own supply of squashes ready and waiting, but Lidl is still providing some tasty and varied winter varieties, all listed as simply 'Winter Squash'. The one I used for this was a Carnival-type I think (the one I used for the illustration might be a Buttercup?). I've previously used Honey Bears, which are an acorn variety and have lovely, tender, bright orange flesh which is great for roasting and were perfect for this. I imagine Butternuts will do the trick, but with so many different types out there, I say embrace the variety!
Serve as suggested above, with crispy roasters, steamed savoy cabbage, onion gravy and a good ale.
For the pastry:
8oz plain flour
4oz cold butter, cut into cubes
pinch of salt
A little cold water
For the filling:
1/2 medium sized winter squash, deseeded and peeled, cut into rough 2cm chunks
4 large field mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
2 sprigs sage, leaves finely sliced
1 tsp horseradish sauce
1 tsp bouillon powder or 1/2 stock cube
100ml warm water
Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
First, make the pastry. Toss the butter cubes in the flour and salt and then, with your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until you have a rough breadcrumb consistency. Don't make it too fine, you want some larger lumps left so that the pastry will puff and flake a little in the oven. Add cold water a little at a time and combine until it comes together to form a firm dough.DOn't handle too much so as not to melt the butter. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 7-8 or around 200-210C.
Next, heat the olive oil in a large pan with a lid and cook the onions over a medium heat with the bay leaf for a few minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add the mushrooms and garlic with a good grinding of black pepper and continue cooking until the mushrooms have started to wilt and soften. Add the squash and herbs with a pinch of salt and stir well to coat everything, then allow to cook for 5 more minutes, continuing to stir frequently. Sprinkle on the bouillon/stock cube and add the water and horseradish. Stir well, cover, and cook until the squash is soft and the the water has become a small amount of thickened gravy. Remove the bay leaf.
When the filling is ready, lightly oil a baking tray. Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the pastry to approx 30x25cm and place on the baking tray (it will probably hang over). Spoon the filling into the centre of the pastry in an oblong shape, leaving plenty of space around the edges so you'll be able to fold the pastry over. You should be able to fit all the filling in. Brush the exposed pastry with a little milk or water, then fold it over the filling, starting with the ends, then bringing the sides over to form a packet. Press the folds down lightly and brush all over with with milk, ensuring you get the joins to help secure them. Place in the centre of the oven for 15 -20 mins, or until the pastry is golden. Serve in slices.