Rustic vegetable and stuffing Wellington



• 400ml good quality vanilla custard
• 300ml double cream
• 4 tablespoons Opies Summer Berry Compote

Rocket Pesto Toast Christmas Tree Platter
For the pesto:
• 50g pine nuts
• 30g (half a bag) of rocket leaves
• 30g (1 small bunch) fresh basil – chopped (include the stalks)
• 2 cloves of garlic – peeled
• The juice of ¼ lemon
• 1 tablespoon Greek yoghurt
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the toast:
• 1 loaf of sourdough bread (try and get a long loaf with a domed back)
• Olive oil
• Chilli oil
• Chilli flakes
• Salt and pepper

For dressing:
• Olives
• Stuffed peppers
• Cubes of cheese

Rustic Vegetable and Stuffing Wellington
For the pastry:
• 500g plain flour
• 250g salted butter – chilled and cut into cubes
• 1 egg, beaten with a few tablespoons of cold water

For the mushroom pâté:
• 50g walnuts
• A large nob of butter
• Olive oil
• 200g mushrooms – thickly sliced
• 2 garlic cloves – finely grated
• 2 twigs of fresh rosemary – chopped
• 75g strong cheddar – grated

For the filling:
• 6 vegetarian sausages – I like using the Richmond meat-free ones as they’re soft and mix well with the rest of the filling
• 1 packet of your favourite stuffing mix
• 1 onion – finely chopped
• 1 leek – finely chopped
• 1 courgette – finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic – grated
• Thyme and rosemary
• 100g Gruyère cheese – finely grated

Words by:
Dominic Franks
Featured in:
December 2022

Dominic Franks delivers a delicious meat-free alternative for your festive table.

This year, even more so than before, I feel the need to share some ideas for a special vegetarian Christmas. I want to show that choosing veggie dishes can be just as festive and tasty as traditional meat-based dishes and importantly they are also more affordable.

For me the Christmas table is all about theatre. Showing off that centrepiece – usually a golden bird, and then presenting it with all the trimmings. I’m not changing any of that other than taking away the meat.

For my main course, the theatrical moment is a glorious vegetable and stuffing Wellington. I think anything wrapped in golden flaky pastry always elicits “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from my guests and that’s exactly what you want.

Carved into thick slices and served with everyone’s favourite trimmings, it is sure to satisfy even the die-hard meat-eaters.

Christmas is also all about sharing and my starter is a wonderfully fun and tasty rocket pesto toast Christmas Tree platter – a slice for every person sitting around the table and it isn’t too filling before the main feast.

• Start with the pesto. Place the pine nuts into a dry frying pan and gently roast on a medium heat for about 5 min, tossing regularly until they turn golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.
• Place all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz until you have a thick, rough paste. The ingredients can be adjusted to taste and texture; a little more or less oil, more Greek yoghurt etc. Set aside. (This can be made a day in advance and kept in an air-tight container in the fridge.)
• Cut your bread into medium slices and lay them out on a board. Generously drizzle one side with oil. I like a bit of a chilli hit so I use chilli oil, but any flavoured oil would be good here. Season well with salt and pepper.
• Heat a griddle pan and lay the bread, oil side down into the pan and griddle until crispy. Oil and season the up-facing side and then flip them over. When all the slices are toasted set them aside for a moment to cool. You don’t want them too hot.
• Spread the pesto onto the toast nice and thickly using the back of a spoon.
• Lay the toast onto a large serving platter or wooden board and arrange them like a Christmas tree with two pieces at the bottom and layering them up to the top.
• Use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the star.
• Decorate the tree with olives, cheese or stuffed peppers.

TIP: All the items can be made up to two days in advance and kept in the fridge. In fact they will benefit from this, as it will help when you assemble the Wellington. Once assembled, the whole Wellington can be frozen for up to a month and be cooked directly from frozen – add 20 min to the cooking time.

• Place the flour and the cubed butter into a large bowl and rub together with your fingertips until they resemble breadcrumbs.
• Add the beaten egg and water and use a fork to combine. You may need to add a little more water until the pastry starts to come together and form a dough.
• Pat out the dough onto a piece of clingfilm, wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 min.

• Place a large frying pan onto a medium heat and add the walnuts. Toast them until golden. This usually takes about 5 min. Once they’re done, remove them from the pan and set them aside.
• Add a large nob of butter and a little olive oil to the pan and throw in the mushrooms. Now, I’m a ‘low and slow’ kind of mushroom fryer. I give them an initial shimmy in the pan to coat them in the butter and oil and then leave them alone on a medium heat until they begin to squeak (roughly 6 min).
• Then, add plenty of pepper – more than you think, plus the rosemary. Then shimmy them again and leave them to turn golden. A few shimmies here and there until they are soft and gloriously golden all over. Set aside.
• Tip the mushrooms and toasted walnuts into a food processor along with the cheese and blend to a rough paste. Set aside in the fridge.

• In a pan, gently sauté the onions, leek, courgette and garlic until tender, season well and set aside.
• In a large bowl, rehydrate the stuffing mix according to the packet instructions, then stir in the sautéed veg and cheese.
• Mash the veggie sausages and then mix them well with the stuffing mix.
• Lay the filling onto a piece of clingfilm and form into a thick sausage shape. Wrap tightly in the clingfilm (two layers is a good tip) and place in the fridge for at least an hour for it to firm up.

• Pre-heat your oven to 180°C (fan).
• Cut one-third off your pastry and set aside.
• Roll out the large piece until it is twice the size of your filling sausage shape, then smother it in the mushroom pâté leaving a thick edge of pastry on one of the long sides. Brush this with beaten egg.
• Lay the sausage filling onto the pâté and tightly roll it up. Press the seam firmly and fold the ends over using a little more egg wash. Flip it over so the seam is on the bottom. Brush the whole thing with more egg wash.
• With plenty of flour on your board, roll out the smaller piece of pastry and use a lattice wheel to cut a lattice pattern into it.
• Swiftly pick up the pastry and lay it over the Wellington and carefully spread out the lattice sheet to open up the lattice pattern. Brush the whole thing with egg wash.
• Carefully place the Wellington onto a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 min until the top is a dark golden brown.

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