Welcome to day three of my Very Vegan Christmas!

If you missed day 1 and 2 you can find the Christmas canapés for this festive menu here and here.

This centerpiece will definitely make a statement! Full of caramelized pears and onions, and loads of pecans, it’s a guaranteed showstopper! I used Woolworths puff pastry, which is incidentally vegan!

This recipe does require some tender love and care to elevate the simple ingredients into something really special, so if this is daunting for you to complete, follow our Very Vegan Christmas plan to break it down into manageable parts, making Christmas day an absolute breeze.

*Notes on choosing your butternut – As you will be discarding the bulbous part of the butternut containing the seeds, choose a butternut with a nice long and fat neck. This will be hollowed out with a melon baller like a canoe to form the bulk of your wellington.

Butternut Wellington

With A Caramelized Pear, Sage And Pecan Stuffing

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash

2 Tbsp non dairy milk

3 Tbsp Maple Syrup, divided into 1 Tbsp each for the butternut, pears and pastry

1 roll defrosted vegan friendly pastry

flour for rolling the pastry

Olive oil

Salt

pepper

tinfoil

 

For the Stuffing

120g sourdough, or stale white bread cubed and soaked in 1/2 cup veg stock

1 cup finely sliced onion

1/2 cup celery

1 cup peeled and chopped pear

1/2 cup roasted and salted pecans, roughly chopped

3 Tbsp chopped sage (reserve 5 large leaves for the wellington)

1 Tbsp thyme

1 Tbsp parsley

Vegan Gravy 

1 onion roughly chopped

1 large peeled carrot, cut into 1cm rounds

1 cup celery, roughly chopped

1 cup shitake mushrooms (or sub for portobellini), roughly chopped

1 whole unpeeled garlic clove

2 Tbsp miso paste

1 tsp thyme

1 bay leaf

1 Tbsp flour

1 Tbsp margarine

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C and prep your ingredients as listed.

Peel the butternut, and cut it in half length ways. Cut of the bulbous section containing the seeds (save this for soup!) reserving only the fleshy necks of the butternut. You should now be left with two half moon shaped logs.

Using a mellow baller or spoon, hollow out the center of the butternut logs to leave space for the filling. Aka turning your half moon shaped logs into rainbow or half pipe shaped logs.

Next line a baking tray with tinfoil or baking paper. Grab a 40cm section of tinfoil and roll this into a long tinfoil sausage and place this on the lined baking tray. Drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil over the butternut and give them a generous sprinkle of salter and pepper, making sure the butternut is evenly coated. Nestle your butternut logs over the tinfoil log, so that the center you just hollowed out is propped up by the tinfoil snake. The tinfoil snake will help support your butternut half pipes as they bake, so the hollowed center does not collapse.

In a small bowl, toss your cut pear with 1 Tbsp maple syrup, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Scatter this around the butternut and pop it into the oven. Cook the pears until they are soft and well caramelized (about 30 minutes) then remove from the oven. Cook the butternut a bit longer until it is cooked through (40 minutes or so) and lightly golden brown. For the final 7 minutes of cooking, glaze the butternut with a tbsp of maple syrup, and turn the heat up to 200 to get a nice lacquered sheen on the butternut

Next add the gravy vegetables to a high sided, baking paper lined baking tray. Mix the miso with enough water to form a loose paste the consistency of thick cream, and massage this into the vegetables. Pop the veg into the oven to roast for 30-40 minutes, or until golden and caramelized. Once it has caramelized, add 3 cups of boiling water, the bayleaf and thyme and cook until you are ready to make the gravy.

While the butternut and pear are cooking, make the stuffing.

Fry the sliced onion and celery in a pot with  the lid on in 1 Tbsp of olive oil, on a medium to low heat,  for 20 minutes until soft and golden. Chop the sage and add it to the onion mix and fry for a further minute. Remove the onion mix from the pan and add it to a bowl along with the soaked bread. Add the pear, pecans, parsley and thyme and mix everything together. Season the mixture to your preference with salt and pepper.

To assemble, roll your pastry out into a rectangle long enough to wrap around the butternut. On one end of the pastry pop a few spoons of stuffing, and shape it into a rectangle that will form the base of the wellington. The stuffing base should be at least 1cm or so in thickness. Stuff the cavity of the butternut and place the stuffed butternut, flat side down, on top of the stuffing base. Neaten everything up and add more stuffing as necessary.

Mix together the final Tbsp of maple syrup with the non dairy milk. Using a pastry brush, brush the mixture all around the edges of the pastry (this will help it all stick together), and roll the pastry over to snugly cover the butternut and stuffing. Trim off the excess pastry, leaving a 1cm border around the butternut.  Seal the edges of the wellington by gently pressing down on them with a fork. Brush the whole wellington with the milk glaze and using two spatulas, transfer the pastry log to a baking tray and place it into the oven to bake for 40 minutes.

Remove the gravy veggies and water from the oven.

While the pastry is baking, finish the gravy. Add the margarine to a pot and melt over a medium heat, and stir in the flour until well combined to form a roux. Strain the vegetables out of the stock, which should leave you with  about 2 cups of rich veggie stock. Slowly pour the stock into the roux, whisking as you go to avoid lumps. Cook for 10 minutes on a low heat to thicken the gravy, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Once the wellington is golden and crispy, remove it from the oven, slice it and serve immidialaty with the gravy. Enjoy!