Monday, 25 October 2010

Leeks "Wellington"

One of our most succesful crops this year is our leeks. They are quite magnificent, and so I determined to make a dish where they could be the star performers rather than take the quiet, supporting roles that so often falls to them. After doing a lot of thinking while doing clean up in the garden, I came up with the idea of a Leek Wellington. Instead of rolling a piece of beef in pastry with paté and mushrooms, I would roll up leeks with a sauce of cheese and mushrooms. I used a regular pie type pastry rather than puff pastry (which frankly intimidates me) and I added broccoli to the cheese and mushrooms for extra flavour and to keep it from being too rich. There is all that pastry, after all.

These were, I'm afraid, fairly time-consuming although really not difficult. I divided the work up over 2 days. I made the pastry, and kept it well wrapped in the fridge until about an hour before I wanted to roll it out. I cooked the leeks and broccoli ahead of time as well. Then I just had to mix the filling, roll out the dough, form the Wellingtons, and bake them.

I suspect if you wanted to make them in advance and bake them just before they were wanted you could do that, although I wouldn't do it more than a few hours ahead of time for fear of the pastry getting soggy.

4 to 6 servings
1 hour 30 minutes - 1 hour prep time
Not including making the pastry

Make the Pastry:

for a double crust recipe. You can use this recipe, which is the one I used, or this one here.

Cook the Leeks & Broccoli:
4 large to 6 medium leeks
2 cups chopped broccoli

Wash the leeks, then trim off the root end and any part that is darker than pale green. You should end up with as uniform pieces of leek as possible.

Steam the leeks for 15 minutes, until just tender, adding the broccoli pieces for the last 5 minutes. Let them cool, at least enough to handle.

Make the Filling:
1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
2 clove garlic
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
250 grams soft, mild cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt (be prepared to adjust this)
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon rubbed oregano
1 large egg
1/4 cup light cream

Clean and chop the mushrooms, discarding the stems. Peel and mince the garlic. Heat the oil in a medium skillet, and sauté the mushrooms until soft. Add the garlic for the last minute or two of cooking. Let the mixture cool enough to handle.

Put the cooked broccoli and mushroom mixture into a food processor along with the salt, paprika and oregano. (Use more or less salt according to how salty the cheese is.) Process until the mixture is well chopped, although it should still have a fair bit of texture. Mix in the egg and cream.

Assemble and Bake the Wellingtons:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

Divide the pastry equally into as many portions as you have leeks. Roll each portion out into a rectangle on a floured board or piece of parchment paper (my preference) until it is about 2 inches longer than the leek pieces.

Divide the filling equaly into as many portions as you have leeks. Top each rolled out portion of pastry with a strip of the filling, spread out to be about the same size and shape as the leek pieces.

Top it with one of the leeks. Lift the sides of the rectangle of pastry and close them up around the leek and the filling. Seal the ends, turning them up towards the seam.

Lift the resulting pastry-covered leek onto the prepared baking sheet, seam-side down. Continue filling, wrapping and sealing the remaining leek pastries, placing them on the baking sheet seam-side down and an inch or two apart.

Bake the Wellingtons for 30 to 35 minutes, until well browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Last year at this time I made Roasted Potatoes.


Tiffany said...

wow, that looks awesome. I'm so impressed with your creativity and know-how with pastry. All pastry, puff or no puff, intimidates me.

Ferdzy said...

Well, I used to be intimidated by it all too, but as I make it a bit more, it becomes much faster to do and turns out better as well.

I suppose the same thing would happen with puff pastry but I just can't help but think it's not something I *need* to start making (or eating).

So if you want to make better pastry just start making it... as long as you don't overwork it the worst that will happen is that you will need to patch it up a bit and it won't look as good as it tastes.