Whether you are a died-in-the-wool vegetarian or occasionally like to leave the meat alone, you are going to love this showstopper of a dish. The Wellington is usually associated with beef or game, but here it is stacked with vegetables, mushrooms and good grains and bathed in a creamy tarragon sauce. The Vegetarian Wellington does take some making but is so, so worth the effort.
100g quick-cook farro
15g tarragon (fresh leaves)
175g butternut squash (cut into 1cm cubes)
175g sweet potato (peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes)
5 tablespoons olive oil
200g large Portobello mushrooms
50g unsalted butter
25g baby Kale or slice up regular kale but not too fine
1 tablespoon plain flour
320g ready-rolled puff pastry sheet (35cm x 23cm)
1 medium free-range egg (lightly beaten)
250ml double cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oven to 200°C. Line a heavy baking tray with greaseproof paper cut to size.
- Add the Farro to a small saucepan of lightly boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and spread on kitchen paper to drain.
- Heat the milk but do not boil. Add 10g of the Tarragon leaves, stir then put to one side to infuse.
- Tip the butternut squash and sweet potato cubes onto a roasting tray. Sprinkle with the oil, a good pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Roll the vegetables around the tray to cover with oil and seasoning then roast on the centre of the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked, scoop onto kitchen paper to drain.
- Take the Portobello mushrooms, remove the stalk and keep. Cut the mushroom into even 1 cm thick slices, keep any bits of leftover from slicing the mushroom. (I like to chop the ends off see the drawing at the end)
- In a large frying pan, heat half the butter until foaming then add the mushrooms, cook for 3 minutes turning once, lift from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Keep the pan on the stove and add the Kale and cook to wilt slightly. Put the frying pan to one side but do not wash.
- Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir quickly to form a thick paste. Strain the milk through a fine sieve into the pan and whisk like crazy until you have a glossy, smooth cream sauce — Cook for a further two minutes.
- Finely chop the mushroom stalks and any leftover mushroom bits, then add to the cream sauce, stir, then add the Farro and stir again. Season with a little pinch of salt and pepper. Keep to one side to cool.
- Once the sauce is cooled, remove the pastry sheet from its packaging and carefully unroll. Cut the sheet into two rectangles 17.5cm x 11.5cm and lay two pieces, side by side onto the baking tray.
Assemble the Vegetarian Wellington:
- Lay the pastry rectangle with the narrow end in front of you. Cover with the baby kale leaving a 2.5 cm margin.
- Spoon over a thick layer of the mushroom and Farro cream, tuck the buttery slices into the sauce starting from front to back and don’t worry if there are gaps.
- Then, carefully tuck the squash and potato dice on and around the mushroom, filling any gaps, and finishing with more Farro piled on top.
- Brush around pastry lightly with beaten egg and lay the second sheet of pastry over carefully stretching it to fit like a pie. Using your hands, gently mould the pastry into a log shape.
- Firmly press the edges together to seal while keeping the 2.5cm margin, then using the back of a fork press to create an even firmer seal. Meaten the edges, and use any bits of pastry to decorate.
- Wash the whole Wellington beaten egg and using a sharp knife score the pastry 4 or 5 times taking care not to cut right through.
- Put the Wellington, uncovered, into the fridge to chill and rest for at least 2 hours. If you want to leave it overnight, then cover loosely with a little greaseproof paper.
- Reheat the pan you cooked the mushrooms and Kale in over medium heat, once hot add the cream and the remaining tarragon leaves finely chopped. Stir and let the sauce bubble and reduce by a third. Once cooked keep to one side until needed.
- Cook the Wellington at 200 °C in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes until golden brown and well risen. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Cut into thick slices and serve with the reheated tarragon cream sauce.
To Serve Your Vegetarian Wellington:
Cut into thick slices and serve with the reheated tarragon cream sauce.