Vegetable & Tempeh Wellington with Rich Shiitake Gravy
This recipe may take a bit of preparation but it’s well worth it. Rather than making your own pastry, a short cut option that I offer here is to purchase an organic vegan pastry from the frozen section of your natural food store. With a plethora of roasted root vegetables, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, it’s our go-to festive meal year after year. I would recommend making the vegan egg wash before assembling the wellington.
250 g pack vegan puff pastry
225 g pack organic tempeh, cubed and marinated
1 bunch spinach, chopped
6 medium Portobello mushrooms, sliced ¼ inch thick
Pinch sea salt
2 tbsp red wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large leeks, white part only, trimmed and cut into ½ inch slices
2 cups celery, thinly sliced
2 cups red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups carrots, thinly sliced
1 tbsp tamari
½ tsp dried sage
½ tsp dried thyme
1 large carrot, thinly cut on the diagonal and steamed
To braise the tempeh
225 g pack organic tempeh
1 tbsp shoyu
1 tbsp rice mirin
1 tbsp ume plum seasoning
½ tbsp freshly squeezed ginger juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp dried mixed herbs
Cut the tempeh into bite-sized cubes. Add all the other ingredients to a jar, close the lid tightly and shake well to mix.
To cook the tempeh
Warm a little filtered water in a heavy-based pan over a low-medium heat, add the tempeh cubes and cook covered for 5 minutes. Pour over the marinade, cover and cook on a low heat for 25 minutes, adding water if the pan dries out. Transfer to a large bowl.
Follow the instructions on your pastry packet for thawing. Remove the pastry from the box and lay on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Let sit for 15 minutes then gently roll and allow the pastry to come to room temperature.
Bring a small pan of filtered water to a boil. Pop the spinach into a steamer basket. Cover and steam the spinach for a 1–2 minutes until wilted. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.
In a heavy-based pan, heat a little filtered water and cook the mushrooms with a pinch of sea salt for 7–8 minutes. Add the red wine and allow to soak into the mushrooms; cook until the pan is dry. Remove the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
Using the same pan, add a splash of filtered water and sauté the garlic, leeks, celery, onions and carrots, tamari and herbs. Cook for 5–7 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow the mixture to cool. Add this mixture to the tempeh bowl, use a paper towel to blot any moisture from the mixture, then transfer to a dish and chill in the fridge.
The secret to a deliciously juicy yet flaky wellington is to pat everything dry and make sure it is completely cold before wrapping it in your vegan puff pastry.
Stuffing the wellington
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), gas 6. Layer the mushrooms onto the prepared pastry sheet, spreading them evenly along the edge of the pastry nearest to you. Layer some of the filling on top of the mushrooms, then the spinach, and top with a layer of the steamed carrots. Add a thin layer of basil pesto along the full length of the filling. Very carefully fold the pastry over the top of the mixture and press down to seal the edges. Trim any excess pastry and crimp around the edges with the back of a fork.
Using a sharp knife, score diagonally across the pastry in both directions. Put in a couple of vents by pushing a sharp knife down into the middle of the pastry.
To make the egg wash
1 tbsp aquafaba (chickpea water)
1 tbsp almond milk
½ tsp maple syrup or brown rice syrup
To make the vegan egg wash, whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Using a pastry brush, very lightly coat the wellington. Place the baking tray with the wellington in the freezer for 10 minutes before repeating with another layer of vegan egg wash, and freezing for a further 10 minutes.
Place the baking tray in the oven for 30–35 minutes, or until golden and flaky. Beautifully layered colours of delicious vegetables encased in puff pastry will be the end result, and served with some shiitake gravy is heaven on earth. Makes 8 servings.
Note – Use any remaining filling and leftover pastry to make mini pastries that are great for snacks or picnics. The leftovers also work well as a pie filling.
Rich Shiitake Gravy
Bring on the gravy! This shiitake mushroom gravy is full of flavour and is perfect for anytime of the year. Serve this luscious, low-fat mushroom gravy over mashed potatoes, wellington or shepherd’s pie. It’s easy to make, comforting and delicious!
4 inch (10 cm) piece of kombu
3 large dried shiitake mushrooms
2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 heaped tbsp kuzu
2 tbsp tamari or shoyu
2 tbsp rice mirin
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Soak the kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms in 3 cups of filtered water for 30 minutes.
Remove the mushrooms from the water and slice the caps thinly, discarding the stems
along with the kombu. Reserve the soaking water. Heat a splash or two of filtered water in
a saucepan and sauté the dried shiitakes, fresh mushrooms, garlic and onion over a
medium heat for about 5 minutes. Dissolve the kuzu in two tablespoons of filtered water.
Add to the saucepan and stir constantly while slowly adding the soaking water. Keep
stirring until the gravy begins to simmer and thicken. Add the tamari or shoyu, mirin, and
thyme and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Blend to a cream if desired. Makes 4–6 servings.