There are so many delicious things you can wrap in puff pastry and call a wellington that even the most loyal beef fans might be tempted to try something new. Vegetarian Wellingtons make an excellent choice for an alternative Christmas dinner. They look spectacular, can be carved at the table, and go well with all the Christmas trimmings. (Best not mess with tradition too much!) This pastry is stuffed with a very cheesy cheddar and leek mixture, but you could try experimenting. Butternut squash roasted, blitzed and mixed up with pine nuts, mascarpone and spinach is a perennial favourite on our menus. Mushroom, chestnut and stilton seems particularly appropriate for this time of year. Or how about a Mediterranean vegetable filling, with asparagus and goats cheese?
That’s another good thing about vegetarian wellingtons – you can adjust the filling to suit your crowd. No one minds (or needs to know) if you cheat and buy the pastry. If you’d prefer to make your own though, we have a recipe for ‘rough puff pastry’ coming up soon!
Cheddar and Leek Wellington
1 x Jus Roll block or roll of puff pastry (All butter is key!)
1 X egg, beaten for egg wash
60 g butter
3 tbs plain flour
3 leeks chopped and well rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
A good teaspoon of English mustard
2 pints milk
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200 C
Warm the milk gently in a saucepan. Keep an eye on it – it just wants to be kept warm, not even simmer.
In another, larger saucepan, on a slightly higher heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the leeks. Stir and soften for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir or whisk well for a good four minutes, until the flour has all been incorporated. This stage is key – if you don’t cook the flour enough, you’ll be able to taste it in the end dish, and the sauce won’t get quite smooth. Add the milk gradually, stirring or whisking well in between each splash, making sure there are no lumps in the mixture before you add the next bit of milk. Once all the milk has been added, keep stirring on the heat until it’s thick and smooth. Allow it to boil for about a minute. When it’s not too hot, taste for seasoning. Add the mustard, salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from the heat and allow to mostly cool. The mixture should be thick enough to wrap in puff pastry. A classic wellington shape is nice for sharing.
Seal the edges with the beaten egg, and brush the whole thing in the egg wash. Use leftover puff pastry scraps to decorate the wellington however you’d like. Put in the over.
Put on a baking tray lined with parchment, and bake in the oven until golden brown and piping hot – about 25 minutes.