If meat is not your game, it doesn’t mean Christmas lunch is out the window. Great British Chefs have three great alternatives from a Wellington to tarte tatin
Root vegetable tarte tatin
500g of puff pastry block
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into 1cm rounds
1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced into 1cm rounds
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced into 1cm rounds
1 banana shallot, peeled and sliced into rounds
50g of butter
1 tbsp of sherry vinegar
1 tbsp of caster sugar
3 sprigs of thyme
freshly ground black pepper
plain flour, for dusting
Place the vegetables in a large pan and add enough water to cover, season with salt and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for 4–5 minutes, then quickly drain the vegetables and refresh in a bowl of iced water (this halts the cooking process and helps to retain their colours). Drain the cooled vegetables and leave to dry on some kitchen towel.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Using an ovenproof frying pan (approx. 25cm) as your guide, trim the pastry to a circle that is slightly bigger than the pan. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and chill in the fridge.
Place the frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the butter, vinegar and sugar, stirring until melted together. Reduce the heat slightly, and add the shallots – try to keep the rings intact by not moving them too much. Once they begin to soften and caramelise, scatter over the thyme leaves, shaking the pan gently to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Place the par-boiled vegetable rounds in a decorative pattern across the base of the pan, arranged like a mosaic with a mix of large and small pieces to fill the gaps. Make sure all the vegetables are coated in the butter glaze. Remove the pastry circle from the fridge and place on top of the vegetables in the pan. Gently tuck the edges in around the vegetables.
Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then check the tarte to see if there is any excess butter or liquid bubbling up around the sides – if so, gently pour this away (you may need to use kitchen towel or a cloth to hold the tarte in place). Reduce the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and return the tarte to the oven for a further 15–20 minutes, until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes (the pastry will deflate slightly in this time), then place a plate over the top of the pan and carefully flip the pan over, so the tarte Tatin turns out on to the plate. Serve the tarte warm, perhaps with a fresh salad.
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves picked
1 sprig of thyme, leaves picked
2 red onions, peeled and sliced
100g of chestnuts, peeled and chopped, optional
2 slices of sourdough bread
1 lemon, zest and juice
10g of butter
250g of button mushrooms, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
200g of curly kale
200g of baby spinach
50g of pine nuts
500g of puff pastry
2 tbsp of milk
3 pinches of salt
2 pinches of pepper
2 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil
10 large Maris piper potatoes
175g of half fat crème fraîche
25g of butter
2 tbsp of parsley, chopped
2 tbsp of chives, chopped
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Add the sweet potato to a large roasting tray with a good splash of olive oil. Using a pestle and mortar, bash the rosemary and thyme lightly for 1-2 minutes to release the flavour. Scatter over the sweet potato.
Cover the tray with tin foil and place in the oven for approximately 45 minutes until soft. Remove and allow to cool. Meanwhile, place a saucepan over a medium heat and add a dash of olive oil. Once hot, add the onions along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently cook the onions, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly browned. Add the crumbled chestnuts to the pan and cook for further 2 minutes.
Toast the bread until dark and golden and drizzle with a small dash of olive oil. Tear into small chunks and set aside. Add the torn toast to the pan with the onions, stir to combine. Stir in the lemon zest and remove the pan from the heat.
For the mushrooms, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until all the liquid from the mushrooms has cooked off and they are soft. Squeeze in a little lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat, pour the contents into a blender and blitz into a paste.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Tear the kale into small pieces and cook for 2 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for another 30 seconds. Drain and set aside.
In a bowl, mix the kale and spinach with the pine nuts, a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Now assemble your Wellington. Roll out the puff pastry on a sheet of baking parchment until approximately 30cm x 40cm, then spread the mushroom mixture on top.
Toss together the spinach, sweet potato and onion-bread mixture. Spoon it in a thick line down the middle of the pastry, leaving a gap at either side so you can join up the edges of the Wellington. Hold one side of the baking parchment and lift it, with the pastry, towards the centre of the Wellington so the filling is half covered.
Peel the baking parchment back, leaving the pastry in place, then repeat with the other side. The pastry should overlap in the middle. Beat the egg with the milk and brush it over the pastry to seal the join.
Fold up the ends so the filling doesn’t leak out, then carefully roll the Wellington onto a baking sheet, with the seal underneath. Brush all over with the remainder of the egg mix. Bake for 45 minutes until puffed up, golden brown and hot through the middle.
Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for approximately 12-15 minutes or until tender. Strain and allow to steam for 5 minutes. Tip back into the pot and mash together with the light crème fraîche, butter, salt and pepper.
Using a wooden spoon, mix in the chives and parsley. To serve, slice up the Wellington and serve on a bed of the herby mash and your preferred vegetarian gravy.
Mushroom, chestnut and thyme pithivier
640g of puff pastry, vegan, ready-rolled
400g of mixed seasonal wild mushrooms
12 cooked chestnuts
4 shallots, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tbsp of thyme leaves, fresh
2 tbsp of Madeira, or sherry
300g of silken tofu, cut into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. Line a large round baking tray such as a pizza sheet.
Place all the filling ingredients into a large wok or pan with .a lid and cook with the lid on over a low to medium heat until the tofu has melted and all the filling ingredients have cooked down to a thick sauce type texture this will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Cut out two large discs to fit the baking tray from the rolled pastry, keeping the trimmings for other baking tray, and place one disc onto the lined baking sheet. Pile the filling ingredients into the middle of the pastry disc and then sit the other pastry circle on top of the filling, crimping the edges with your forefinger and a knife to make an attractive pattern.
With a sharp knife make a sunbeam type pattern on the pastry lid – see photo – and then bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the pastry is a deep golden brown and is puffed up. Serve the Pithivier pie immediately, cut into wedges, with vegetables and vegan trimmings. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.