Puff pastry paranoia

Move past your fears and try this mushroom Wellington recipe.


I make the same salad every weekend — chopped Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, kalamata olives, chickpeas, feta cheese, avocado, and green onions, with a very tasty Dijon vinaigrette. Everyone loves it. In fact, I made it twice last weekend.
About a month ago, to mix things up a bit, I went searching for something different, and I found a recipe for Vegan Mushroom Wellington with Rosemary and Pecans on the Feasting at Home website. I have to say that I didn’t search for vegan puff pastry for this dish, so I’m not sure how vegan my dish was in the end. I also want to disclose that this dish would have benefited greatly by adding some cheese (I would have used a little feta or Parmesan), and I never have pecans on hand, so I used walnuts.
My other confession is that I’m a little intimidated by recipes that want you to wrap anything in puff pastry. I always imagine goo running out of the pastry as it bakes, and then when I try to slice it after my imaginary dish is made, whatever it is falls to pieces. Yes, I realize no one should be intimidated by a recipe ingredient. I’m working on it.
I overcame at least part of my fear by following this recipe’s advice to use frozen puff pastry that had thawed overnight in the fridge. This recipe came out so well that I think I would use the premade pastry again for something else. (I’m pretty certain I told my son we could try slicing the pastry and wrapping it around some high-quality hot dogs.)
Anyway, if you love mushrooms like we love them, this is a dish you’ll want to try. Other than my need for cheese, this savory filling made for a fine Sunday night supper. And it looked beautiful when it came out of the oven. It does take a while for the mushroom mixture to cook down until the liquid has evaporated, but it’s worth the wait.

Vegan Mushroom Wellington with Rosemary and Pecans

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. mushrooms, sliced, stems OK (except shiitake stems)
1 large onion, diced
4-6 fat garlic cloves, rough chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (or sage or thyme)
¼ cup cooking sherry, marsala wine, ruby port, or any red or white wine you have handy
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans (or hazelnuts or walnuts)
½ tsp. pepper
(If you want to add cheese, try ½ to 1 cup of Parmesan, goat cheese, or Gruyere.)
1 box (2 sheets) vegan puff pastry, thawed in the fridge overnight (use this cold, not at room temperature)

Heat oil in an extra-large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions, garlic, salt, and rosemary and sauté, stirring often, until mushrooms release all their liquid. Turn heat down to medium, and continue sautéing until all the liquid has evaporated — be patient, this will take a little time. Once the mushrooms are relatively dry in the pan, splash with the sherry wine and balsamic vinegar, and again, sauté on medium heat until all the liquid has cooked off. You don’t want a watery filling. Add the toasted chopped pecans and pepper. (You can also add a couple of teaspoons of truffle oil, if you like.) Taste, adjust salt to your liking. At this point, you could fold in some cheese if you like.
Let the filling cool for 15-20 minutes, or you could make the filling a day ahead and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Make sure your puff pastry is thawed before you start — cold, but thawed, and fill two puff pastries: Carefully unroll the puff pastry onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (if it feels stiff, let it thaw a few more minutes until pliable). Place half the filling in a mound along the center, and working quickly, roll the pastry up and over, seam side down. Fill and roll the second sheet.
Brush with either an egg wash, nut milk, or melted coconut oil. Score the pastry using a sharp knife with your choice of design (I went with simple diagonal slits).
Place the sheet pan on the middle rack in the oven for 35 minutes, checking at 20 minutes, and rotating the pan for even browning if necessary. Let the pastry bake until it is a really deep golden color to ensure it’s done and flaky all the way through.
Cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with rosemary sprigs if you like. It’s OK to serve it at room temperature, but warm is best.