Introduction: BeeT Wellington
In this Instructable I’m going to show you how to make Beet Wellington, a meat-free version of the classic dish, but definitely a showstopper all the same.
We can say that Beef Wellington is something like a pie: it is made of fillet steak coated with a mushroom ragout (duxelles) and sometimes pâté, which is then wrapped in ham and puff pastry, finally baked in the oven.
The good news for Wellington-lover non-meat eaters is that beef is not the only thing that you can prepare Wellington style. Some vegetables work really well as substitutes for meat: beets, squash or turnip for example, that is veggies with relatively low moisture content. Keeping the moisture content low is in fact the key point when making Wellington, because too much moisture will stop the pastry from puffing.
To give you the brief overview on the process: we’ll prepare all elements individually, then we’ll assemble the whole thing for baking.
The basic version on my mind was roasted beets coated with duxelles with added chestnuts sitting on sautéd spinach and a thin layer of mustard all wrapped in puff pastry. I thought that goat cheese would be lovely with the earthy taste of beet, but not all my family members like it, so finally I decided to make a mini Wellington where I added some goat cheese also.
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Step 1: You'll Need
- Puff pastry (I used shop-bought, 2 packs)
For the beetroots:
- 6 beetroots roughly the same size
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the spinach:
- 300 g baby spinach
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt, pepper
For the duxelles:
- 500 g mushrooms
- 2 medium red onions
- 3 garlic cloves (may be more if you are a big garlic fan like me)
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 200 g chestnuts
- salt, pepper
- 150 g fresh goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons mustard
For the beetroot sauce:
- 500 g beets
- juice of 1 large orange
- 1 heaped teaspoon cumin
- cayenne pepper
- 2 oranges
- green mixed salad
- goat cheese (optional)
- bits of roasted chestnuts
+ 1 egg to make egg wash
- cutting board
- orange juicer
- tin foil
- baking tin
Step 2: Beetroots
Start off with beetroots (all of them needed for the recipe, so the 6 pieces + 500 g).
Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius.
Wash beets and wrap them individually or two – by – two into tin foil (hide 3 cloves of unpeeled garlic in one of the parcels. Don't forget to add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to each parcel.(pics 1-3.)
Roast beets for about an hour. By this time they should get soft but not too soft.
When they are ready, let them cool a bit (pic 4.) and peel them. Take care when opening the parcel, steam may burst out!
Select 6 of them that are roughly the same size, line them up and don’t hesitate to make a few adjustments here and there if it proves necessary. The craft part :-) - pic 6.
Cut the rest of the beetroots into cubes - pic 5.
Step 3: Chestnuts
Wash chestnuts and with a sharp knife, make a straight cut on the chestnuts as seen in picture 1. For me, it’s easier to cut on the flat side, but it’s not set in stone.
Place them on a piece of tin foil or parchment paper and roast them in the preheated oven at 200 Celsius for about half an hour. They are ready when the cuts open up a little and you can see the reddish – brownish flesh in the gap - pic 3. .
Set them aside for a few minutes (some people at this point wrap them into moist kitchen towel) then peel them - pic 4. Don’t wait till they get cold, it’ s a lot easier to peel them while they’re warm. Chop them.
You may start roasting beets and chestnuts together and then remove chestnuts after the first 30 minutes.
Step 4: Duxelles
The key is to chop everything really fine. It will be a lot easier to work with.
Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Chop red onions, add into the pan and fry for about 6-8 minutes until translucent. We don’t want to get it brown, adding a pinch of salt helps to avoid it.
In the meantime, chop mushrooms, peel oven-roasted garlic cloves. Try to cut them into tiny bits as seen in picture 3. Add mushrooms into the pan, keep cooking, stirring occasionally until all moisture is gone. Remember? Too much moisture will give a hard time to puff pastry. Season with salt and pepper, add thyme, parsley and the chopped chestnuts. Add the garlic cloves .
Step 5: Spinach
Wash, dry, remove the larger stems.
Add a tablespoon oil into the frying pan, add spinach, garlic, salt and pepper, fry over medium heat. Stir now and then until spinach wilts.
Step 6: Beetroot Sauce
In a dry frying pan, toast cumin over medium – high heat. It takes about 3-5 minutes, set aside when you can smell that very characteristic cumin scent. Crush in a mortar.
Press the juice of 1 big (or two small) oranges, put the beets cut into cubes (step 2) into a saucepan, pour the orange juice over, season with salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper, add cumin. Bring it to boil, gently simmer for 5 minutes, transfer to a blender, blend until smooth.
Step 7: Assembly 1.
Unroll the pastry, but leave it on its paper if it comes with a paper - pic 1..
Spread over the mustard, leaving a 2-3 cm empty space around the edges - pic 2.
Add spinach after having gently squeezed excess water with your hands if needed (pic 3.) in an 8 cm wide line on top of one half of the mustard and a thin layer of duxelles - pic 4.
Line up beetroots (pic - 5) and cover the top and the sides with duxelles - kind of like building a sand castle.
Step 8: Assembly 2.
Fold the top part of the pastry over the filling and if you're lucky enough and your pastry covers the whole log, then good for you!
I wasn't, but I had another parcel of puff pastry that I used to fill in the gap. I put it underneath the log on the side closer to me, folded it over, cut the excess part. Pressed the sides of the pastry on the long side as well as at the ends firmly together. I used a fork on the short sides.
Decorate the top with fallen parts of the pastry, brush with egg wash.
Step 9: Mini Version
The piece of pastry I cut off from the second roll was just enough to make a mini Wellington. I used the same main elements, but made a few alterations. I ended up with the following layers - in the order of appearance:
pastry - spinach - goat cheese - beetroot - duxelles - pastry - egg wash
It was was certainly worth a try, goat cheese made it even more yummy.
Step 10: Bake
Bake your Wellingtons in the preheated oven (180 Celsius) until they get golden brown. For me it took about 30-40 minutes but cooking time may vary depending on your oven.
Step 11: Orange As Garnish
1. Cut the top and the bottom of the orange so that it sits stable on the cutting board.
2. With a sharp knife, starting from the top of the orange, cut off the peel and the pith (so that only the flesh remains), try to follow the roundish form of the orange.
3. Cut any remaining pith.
4. Turn the orange to its side, cut between the segment and the membrane on both sides of the segment.
Step 12: Serve
I created splashy style plates, because it's fun to make them. place 3 tablespoons of beetroot sauce apart from each other and hit them a little with the back of the spoon. Place a slice of Wellington on the plate, scatter pieces of orange, various greens and pieces of roasted chestnuts. Enjoy!
Grand Prize in the
Meat Free Meal Challenge