Goats Cheese, Mushroom and Squash Wellington
My vegetarian wellington combines goat’s cheese, chestnut mushrooms, hazelnuts and butternut squash all wrapped in puff pastry to create the perfect centrepiece for a roast dinner. Earthy and comforting, the hazelnuts, garlic and rosemary in the mushroom stuffing are balanced with the tang of goats cheese and the sweetness of roasted butternut squash. This is hearty vegetarian cooking that’s a bit special, so it just the thing for Christmas day.
To get ahead for Christmas day, prepare the elements of this wellington, the roasted squash and the mushroom stuffing rolled around the goats cheese, in advance. Just keep them chilled until you’re ready to assemble. You could even prepare the whole wellington the night before and keep it covered, on the baking tray in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. Note that the hazelnuts should be soaked for at least 20 minutes before making the stuffing; this activates them, bringing out flavour and making them easier to digest.
If you need to make this vegetarian main for more or fewer people, it can be scaled up and down to suit without any hassle. The main size guide for everything is the length of the log of goats cheese. I’ve even made individual portions of this goats cheese, mushroom and squash wellington and frozen them. If you have extra mushroom mixture, these could be rolled into balls and cooked as stuffing, and leftover pieces of squash can be used in pasta dishes, soup or simply enjoyed alone.
Goats Cheese, Mushroom and Squash Wellington Recipe
400g butternut squash, peeled and de-seeded
150g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
1 large garlic clove, crushed
a rosemary stem, leaves picked (or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary)
1 free-range egg, separated
200g soft goats cheese log (you can use two placed end to end)
300g puff pastry
1 Weigh the hazelnuts into a small bowl and cover with filtered water. Leave them to soak for at least 20 minutes and up to 4 hours.
2 Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.
3 Cut the butternut squash into 3mm thick slices and spread it out on baking tray. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for 20 minutes until tender then set aside to cool.
4 Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan then cook the mushrooms, drained hazelnuts, rosemary and garlic for a few minutes on a medium heat, without stirring much, until the mushrooms have softened a little and the pan smells fragrant. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor and add the breadcrumbs and egg white. Blitz in short bursts to bring it together to form a coarse paste, resembling stuffing.
5 Spread the mushroom stuffing on a piece of clingfilm into an even rectangle, slightly longer than the goats cheese log and wide enough to wrap around it. Place the goats cheese log along the longer length furthest away from you. Lift the clingfilm up and towards you to roll the goats cheese and wrap it in the mushroom stuffing. Press the mushroom stuffing in to cover each end of the log then seal the clingfilm and chill in the fridge whilst preparing the pastry.
6 On a lightly floured surface, roll the out pastry into roughly a 25cm x 35cm rectangle about 5mm thick. The shorter side of the pastry needs to be 4–5cm longer than the rolled goats cheese filling. Use a sharp knife to cut the pastry, 1/3 for the base and 2/3 for the top. Place the smaller base piece on a baking tray.
7 Gently press the roasted butternut squash with kitchen towel to remove any moisture. Leaving 1.5cm uncovered all the way around the edge, place a single layer of butternut squash in a rectangle on the base piece of pastry. Unwrap the rolled filling and sit it on top of the squash then cover the rest of the mushroom stuffing with butternut squash pieces. Lay the larger piece of pastry on top and smooth it down close to the filling with your hands. Trim away any excess pastry then use a fork to crimp the edges all the way around.
8 Use a sharp knife to make a few slits in the top of the pastry, without cutting all the way through. Lightly beat the egg yolk and use a pastry brush to coat the wellington. Bake the wellington for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.