This was the centerpiece for our first full ‘vegan’’ Christmas we had for 17 of our family and it went down a treat. It is as easy to make as it is delicious! A wonderful centrepiece that goes great when served with our gravy and cranberry sauce. Cooked chestnuts are usually available around the holiday season in vacuum-packs.
1 pack of store bought frozen filo pastry (vegan)
2 red onions
¼ head of a celeriac (approx 150g)
3 medium carrots (200g)
200g cashew nuts
4 tablespoons oil
small bunch of fresh thyme (10g)
small bunch of fresh sage (10g)
100g cooked chestnuts (vacuum-packed)
pinch of dried cayenne
2 tablespoons tamari
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
150g of cooked couscous or quinoa (for quinoa follow instructions on pack to cook)
1 portion of gravy
Take the pastry out and defrost it, easiest by removing it from the freezer the night before and putting in the fridge to defrost overnight.
Making the chestnut cashew stuffing:
Peel and finely slice the onion. Chop any rough gnarly bits off the celeriac and grate it along with the carrots (no need to peel as a lot of the goodness is in the skin).
If your cashew nuts are not roasted, then put them to a small pan on a high heat and dry roast them for approx 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, till they start to get golden, also making sure they do not burn. When ready, put aside to cool down.
Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan or pot on a medium heat. Once it has heated up, add the chopped onions and saute for 5 minutes or until they start to go translucent, ensuring to stir regularly. Next, add the grated carrots and celeriac, and sweat for 5 more minutes, stirring regularly. Then remove the pan/pot from the stove.
In the meantime, crush ⅔ of your roasted cashew nuts by putting in a food processor and pulsing until they are finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor, you can crush them by wrapping them in a tea towel and breaking them with a small pan/rolling pin until they get all mashed up and fine.
Remove the leaves from the thyme and sage from their stalks and roughly chop as well as the cooked chestnuts. Add these all to the pan/pot along with a pinch of cayenne, 2 tablespoons of tamari, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ a teaspoon of black pepper. Also add the remaining ⅓ of the unbroken cashew nuts together with the broken up pieces, and mix well. Taste the stuffing and season if you think it needs any more salt or pepper.
Add the cooked couscous/quinoa to the stuffing and put the pan/pot back on the heat and cook through for a further couple of minutes, stirring well until all is warm and well mixed.
Assembling the Wellington:
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Remove one sheet of pastry and lightly brush with oil on the top side, add another sheet on top and brush again, repeat until you have added 4 sheets in total.
Put the cashew chestnut filling into the centre third of the pastry, leaving a third of the pasty either side and also leaving a little space on each end, so that you can properly seal your wellington. Form the filling into a smooth mound shape.
Bring the pastry one layer at a time around the filling from both sides so that it covers the filling completely from both ends and brush a layer of oil on top. Repeat this with the remaining 3 layers of pastry and when all the layers are folded, then brush the entire outside layer of the filo pastry with oil to seal and so that it browns nicely in the oven.
Bake in the preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 25-30 mins or until the pastry starts to golden and brown and the kitchen smells fab! Serve with the gravy recipe down below.
Easy gravy to serve
1.5 tablespoons oil
500ml veg stock
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
4 tablespoons tamari
2 teaspoons garlic powder (or 4 cloves super-finely chopped)
a pinch of black pepper
3 tablespoons corn flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Put a small non-stick saucepan on a high heat and add the oil. Once pan has heated up, add the chopped onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly.
Mix the veg stock in a large jug together with the nutritional yeast, tamari and garlic powder (or finely chopped garlic) as well as the the black pepper.
Pour the stock mix into the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat down to a gentle simmer. Sieve the corn flour into the mix a little at a time, stirring at the same time. Then add the olive oil and cook for further 3-4 minutes.
Place your sieve over a 1 litre jug/large bowl and sieve the gravy by pouring it from the pan through the sieve and into the jug/bowl. For a thicker consistency and stronger taste, you can leave the mixture to simmer for longer. Enjoy!
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