Chestnut and Cashew Wellington

The Happy Pear's inspired Chestnut and Cashew Wellington recipe is a delicious twist on the well-known classic dish, and makes a brilliant centrepiece for a vegan Christmas dinner.

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Introduction

This was the star of our first full vegan family Christmas, which we had for seventeen members of our family, and it went down a treat. It’s a wonderful centrepiece that’s delicious and festive when served with our gravy and cranberry sauce. Cooked chestnuts are usually available in vacuum packs around the holiday season.

Serves 4-6
Prep time: 1 h

Ingredients

2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
2 red onions
¼ of a head (approx. 150g) celeriac
3 (200g) medium carrots
200g cashew nuts
2 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for brushing the pastry
A small bunch fresh thyme
A small bunch fresh sage
100g cooked chestnuts (vacuum-packed)
A pinch dried cayenne
2 tbsp tamari/soy sauce
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
150g cooked couscous or quinoa (follow instructions on the pack)
Pink peppercorns, to garnish
To serve:
1 portion vegan gravy (see below)
1 portion cranberry sauce

Essential kit

You will need: a food processor and a parchment-lined baking tray.

Instructions

1. If your pastry is frozen, defrost it – this is best done by removing it from the freezer the night before and putting it into the fridge overnight.

2. Now make the chestnut and cashew filling. Peel and finely slice the onions. 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).

3. If your cashew nuts are not roasted, put them into a small pan on a high heat and dry-roast them for about 5–8 minutes, stirring occasionally, till they start to get golden. Set aside to cool down.

4. Put the oil into a large pan or pot on a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Next, add the grated carrots and celeriac, and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring regularly. Remove the pan/pot from the stove.

5. In the meantime, crush two-thirds of your roasted cashew nuts by putting them into a food processor and pulsing until they are finely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, you can wrap them in a tea towel and bash them with a small pan/rolling pin until they are all mashed up and fine.

6. Remove the leaves from the thyme and sage and roughly chop, along with the chestnuts. Add all these to the pot along with the cayenne, tamari, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Add all the cashew nuts (crushed and uncrushed) and mix well. Taste the filling and season if you think it needs any more salt or pepper.

7. Add the cooked couscous/quinoa to the filling, then put the pot back on the heat and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring well until all is warm and well mixed.

8. Now it’s time to assemble your Wellington. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Lay one sheet of puff pastry on the parchment and lightly brush with oil on the top side.

9. Put the cashew and chestnut filling into the centre third of the pastry, leaving a third of the pastry clear on either side and also leaving a little space at each end, so that you can properly seal your Wellington. Form the filling into a smooth mound shape.

10. Place the second sheet of pastry on top, so that it covers the filling completely, and tuck in carefully. Brush the entire outside of the pastry with oil and make score lines with a sharp knife.

11. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and puffy and the kitchen smells fab!

12. Before serving, scatter over a few peppercorns if you have them. Serve with cranberry sauce and gravy for a magic meal. Gravy is such a core part of a celebratory dinner that we felt a bit left out as we had none for years, until last year when we came up with the vegan version (see recipe here). It’s quick and easy to make and we reckon it tastes even better than the real thing!

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