Lurpak are launching a Christmas website and have contacted food bloggers to submit recipes for an alternative to the roast turkey dinner. I was more than happy to contribute an idea that had been bubbling around in my head for a while. I love a beef wellington and I think it would be a great Christmas Day dinner but if you are catering for vegetarians they want something just as delicious on their plate too and in fact this Mushroom and Chestnut Wellington is as good as any beef wellington I have eaten, so everyone is happy.
On Christmas Day, of all days, you want to eat something decadently rich and this is definitely that with its butter rich flaky pastry and a filling that oozes cream and sherry. But the real beauty of this dish is that it can be made the day before and will happily sit in the fridge waiting for you to pop it in the oven 45 minutes before you want to eat it. This means you get to spend less time in the kitchen and more time doing whatever makes you happy on Christmas morning.
But you don’t have to wait until Christmas to enjoy this. I think it might be even better cold than it is hot and so if you are having a party serve one of these sliced as part of a cold buffet and people will be asking for it every time they come to yours for a party.
For the pastry
275g plain flour
225g unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1 egg to glaze
For the filling
250g shallots or onions, sliced finely
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500g mushrooms (I like to use a variety, the tastier the better, but avoid button mushrooms as they have little taste)
200g cooked and peeled chestnuts
½ tsp dried tarragon
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp sherry, madeira wine or marsala
3 tbsp double cream
Begin by making the filling as you will need to allow it to cool before you can assemble the wellington. Weigh the butter for the pastry, wrap in foil and place in the freezer for thirty minutes.
For the filling melt 40g of the butter in a large pan and gently fry the onions and garlic for three to five minutes until the onions are translucent. Turn up the heat to medium and add the mushrooms (no need to slice them unless they are large) and the remaining 20g of butter and fry again for a further five minutes. You want the mushrooms to have taken on a good brown colour with a little caramelisation. Add the tarragon and the chestnuts and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add the soy sauce and the sherry (or madeira or marsala) and allow to bubble away until the juices have reduced by half. Add the cream and bubble again for a minute or two. Stir in the breadcrumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour the mixture into a bowl and allow to cool.
To make the pastry put the flour into a large bowl. Take the butter out of the freezer and, working quickly, grate the butter into the flour. Use a palette knife to coat the butter with the flour. Add enough cold water to mix (add the water gradually as you don’t want the pastry to be sticky) and continue using the palette knife to combine the pastry. Once it starts to come together briefly shape into a disc with your hands. Wrap in clingfilm or a food bag and place in the fridge for thirty minutes.
Place the cooled filling in a food processor and pulse until you have a chunky texture.
Roll the pastry out onto a well floured board to measure 40 x 35 cm.
Pile the filling in the middle of the pastry to form a sausage shape. Cut the overhanging pastry in each side into strips of 5cm and then take a strip from alternate sides to the top of the filling. Place onto a greased baking dish. You can now keep this in the fridge until you are ready to cook. Before cooking, beat an egg in a small bowl and brush over the top of the pie to glaze.
Cook in a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 or the roasting oven of the Aga for 30-35 minutes, turning once, until the pastry is golden. It is best to leave it to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes before serving.