Saturday, 3 November 2012

vegetarian sausage, mushroom and stuffing wellington

...each year I always panic slightly about what i'm going to be cooking for The Viking and our veggie friends for Christmas... I know that he's not fussed and we'd both be happy simply eating a heap of vegetables, some luscious home-made gravy and a yorkshire pudding or two but I do think it's nice to create something special as a centrepiece that's every bit as fabulous as a golden roasted bird... if not more so...

...last year I made a wonderfully decadent layered mushroom suet pudding and so this year I feel like I need to top that with something that extra special and the idea of a wellington has been ruminating in my mind for some time... I also watched this excellent demonstration by Paul Hollywood on the Great British Bake Off Masterclass, who as usual made it look just so bloody easy that I just had to give it a go...

vegetarian sausage, mushroom and stuffing wellington
i'm using a product called sosmix... something many vegetarians will have heard of but it's still quite rare and almost impossible to find in normal stores... easy to buy on-line though and it makes a great bulk filling for when you're really after a meat substitute... I find it a little bland if used by itself so I tend to jazz it up a little with a fancy stuffing, so what I do is spend money on a decent veggie stuffing and mix this in with the sosmix, then once mixed I treat it the same as sausage meat which is absolutely perfect for this wellington... and if you take your time with the puff pastry and make a nice and rich mushroom pate you'll hopefully feel this is suitably excellent for the Christmas table...

for the puff pastry
150g strong white bread flour
150g plain flour
2 eggs
100ml water
160g very cold butter

for the filling
1 x 150g packet of very good quality veggie stuffing (buy the best you can afford)
1 x 300g packet of sozmix

for the mushroom pate
1 large pack of mushrooms - about 15 medium sized - very finely chopped
1 onion - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - crushed
fresh rosemary

ok, so let's start with the pastry - for those of you in the UK and can receive the BBC iPlayer I beg of you to watch the film above, I think the puff pastry tutorial comes in at about 29 mins... it makes it all so easy... and for those of you not so lucky I will try and break it down for you... I stupidly didn't photograph the stages so i've screen-grabbed from the tutorial above which should help... (obviously Paul's using a hunk of sirloin and some liver pate but the principle is the same..)

- place the flour, eggs and salt in a large bowl and get your claw into it a mix it around adding little drops of water as you go

- combine the flour into a ball, tip it onto a floured surface and work it a little till you have a smooth ball of dough... wrap in cling-film and chill in the fridge for at least an hour

- meanwhile make the mushroom pate by melting butter and oil in a pan and sauteing the onions and garlic till translucent, add the mushrooms and rosemary and saute gently for about 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are fully cooked and tender - set aside to cool completely

- next make up the sozmix and the veggie stuffing according to the on-pack instructions, combine and set aside to cool - once cool, form into a large sausage shape, wrap in cling-film and pop in the fridge

- by this time your pastry should be ready to begin the puff process... take it out of the fridge, slap it onto a floured surface and roll it out into a thick oblong shape - 24cm x 16cm

- take your block of butter out of the fridge, place that onto a floured surface and whack it with your rolling pin until flat and 2/3rds the size of the pastry shape

- lay the butter onto the lower 2/3rds of the pastry and fold the empty 1/3rd over the top, then fold the butter and pastry over the top of this - cutting the butter at the seam can help

- now flatten the pastry with your rolling pin from the centre up and then centre down and once flat enough to fold, fold into thirds again... repeat the process once more and then wrap in cling-film and pop in the fridge for an hour... repeat this once more and your pastry should be ready to use.

- roll out the pastry still it's bigger than the sausage mix but not too thin and spread the mushroom pate on top... your mushrooms should be much chunkier than the pate shown in the picture...

- lay the sausage on top and roll the pastry up over it... when you get to the top of the sausage spread the pastry out onto the sausage with your finger, this will ensure you get a tight roll as you continue to roll it up

- tuck the ends in neatly before finishing the roll when you can place it onto your baking sheet and brush with a beaten egg

- score the pastry with the back of a knife and then bake on a medium to hot oven, say 180C for at least 35 mins - you may need longer and if the pastry looks as though it may catch simply lay some foil over the top

...i've got to say I was the most nervous i've ever been making this dish, mainly because it was so easy to make and looked so pretty before it went into the oven... and this is usually a sign of doom for me... I did open the oven a few times and adjust temperatures and also drained off quite a bit of liquid coming from the wellington... plus, the cheap baking sheet I bought buckled and rolled the wellington over to the back of the oven, so I had to do a baking tray shuffle half way through... however the final dish was very good... the pastry was crisp and light and although it was a little underdone in places I didn't suffer from the ubiquotous soggy bottom and you can clearly see the layers of pastry beginning to separate... not bad at all for a first attempt...

eat and of course, enjoy!



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