WHAT? NO TURKEY???????
I’ve been veggie for a while now and initially I did have a slight panic about Christmas dinner. Well truth be known I panicked about Christmas dinner and how on earth I would be able to cope with a holiday to America without a Denny’s bacon and pancakes breakfast!
Last year I did a lovely Nut Roast recipe and it went down a storm , even with Great Nan! Let’s be honest for a second, Christmas Dinner is really all to do with the trimmings and gravy. I mean, turkey doesn’t taste of much on it’s own does it?
This recipe is similar to the one we had last year but it’s encased in pastry. Anything encased in pastry is good in my book and it’ll look really pretty on the Christmas dinner table too!
Chestnut Pate en Croute
2 large onions, chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
100g chestnut mushrooms, diced
100ml red wine
4oog vac packed chestnuts
100g soft breadcrumbs
2 tbs soy sauce
Ready-rolled puff pastry
- Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/gas mark 8.
- In a covered pan, gently fry the onions and celery in the oil for 10 minutes until softened on a really low heat. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for two or three minutes more.
- Add the wine and bubble until it has reduced to almost nothing. Whiz the chestnuts up in a food processor and add to the pan along with the bread crumbs, soy sauce and some seasoning. The mixture should stick together but shouldn’t be so wet it will make the pastry soggy. Add veg stock if it looks a little dry.
- Lay pastry on a greased baking sheet and pile the mixture in a line along the centre. Make diagonal cuts in the pastry at 1cm intervals on either side of the filling, cutting right to the edges of the pastry. Now the idea is to kind of criss cross the pastry to cover the filling. Alternating from side to side, fold the strips up and over the filling. Trim where necessary and then brush with unsweetened soy or almond milk.
- Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
On Christmas day, well a couple of weeks before actually (much to my friends amusement) I’ll make the gravy and freeze it so it’s one less job to do on the day. Bisto just doesn’t cut it on Christmas day!!
To do this I just roast a couple of chopped onions, carrots and whatever else I have (not parsnip because it makes it too sweet) in the oven until they caramelise. I sometimes add thyme or whole garlic cloves too. Transfer the roasting tin to the hob and splash in a little water to deglaze the pan then mash the veg with a potato masher. This squeezes all the lovely flavour out of the veg. Add a tbsp or two of flour, stir and then slowly add some great quality hot stock, mixing all the time. Keep adding the stock until you have enough gravy. I taste it and then add a little marmite or soy sauce for more flavour and great colour. Once you’re happy, strain it and then enjoy!
I don’t really do anything crazy with the veg on Christmas day, I prefer to keep it simple. So we’ll be enjoying the above with roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, sprouts, some cauliflower and upon my mother in law’s request – Yorkshire puddings (made with soy or almond) and mash potatoes too! Oh and I can’t be without cranberry and bread sauce!