Meat free Christmases….. I’ve done a lot of them now, and each year try to think of something new to make. The trouble is, having to serve a centrepiece with all the trimmings, etc restricts us somewhat as it just isn’t natural to make meat free food in the same way as meat. That is, to have the meat as the centrepiece and a bunch of accompaniments around the edge of the plate. Anyway, to please the other meat free guests at the table, and having exhausted my variations of nut roasts over the years, I decided on something involving puff pastry. I usually try to avoid pastry as it is so rich and so high in fat, but hey, it’s Christmas. I can go running more regularly in the New Year.
I settled on a giant mushroom, filled with garlicky spinach and pine nuts and a slice of roasted butternut squash. Then encased the whole thing in a big sheet of puff pastry and bake until crisp and golden.
1 butternut squash
6 large flattish mushrooms
1 pack boursin garlic and herb cheese
100g or so pine nuts
2 big bunches of spinach
3 packs of ready rolled puff pastry
Start by roasting the butternut. Take the thin end (without the seeds), peel and cut into six slices about 1cm thick. Drizzle with a little olive oil, season then roast in the oven at 200C for about 20 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, wash the spinach then wilt in a large pan. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can, then chop roughly.
Take a small frying pan and place over a medium to high heat. Add the pine nuts and toss them gently until toasted. remove from the heat and add to the spinach. Now stir in the pack of Boursin, season with salt and black pepper. Leave to cool.
Peel the mushrooms and remove the stems. Divide the spinach mixture evenly between the six mushrooms then top each with a slice of butternut.
Now take the puff pastry. If using ready rolled, cut each sheet in half then place the filled mushroom, mushroom side down, in the middle of half a sheet. Now carefully fold in each corner in the middle ensuring there are no gaps. Turn the filled ball over and place on a foil or parchment lined baking tray.
When all the mushrooms are wrapped, brush the pastry with a little milk, cut a small steam slit in each then bake for about 25 minutes at 200C until browned.
I served this with a platter of mixed roasted vegetables (beetroot, turnip, parsnip, carrot), roast potatoes, peas, sprouts, brocolli and a gravy made from caramelised onions, vegetable stock, marmite and cornflour.