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Christmas Wellington

This recipe is our take on a classic Wellington using tasty mushrooms and pearl barley and a delicious, light pastry-much easier and healthier than puff pastry!

Christmas Wellington with Pearl Barley, Cavolo Nero and Shitake Mushrooms


For the pastry:

  • 100ml oil (olive or rapeseed)
  • 1 egg
  • 100ml plain yoghurt
  • 250g strong plain white or brown flour
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 75g pearl barley
  • 5g dried wild mushrooms, crumbled
  • 2 bay leaves Approx.
  • 500ml stock or water
  • 4 shallots (or 1 small onion) chopped
  • 100g leeks, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g shitake or a mix of wild mushrooms, chopped
  • 100ml (approx.) Madeira wine (or sherry or white wine)
  • 100g Cavolo nero-stripped from its stalk and chopped
  • 50g hazelnuts
  • Fresh sage and tarragon or parsley-chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 100g cubes of cheese such as Bath Soft Cheese, Brie, Camembert or Goats.

Festive Wellington


To make the pastry:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the yogurt, oil and egg.
  2. Sieve in the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and the salt.
  3. Add the mustard seeds.
  4. Mix together to make a soft smooth dough like pastry. If it is too sticky add a little more flour.
  5. Wrap in Clingfilm and chill for at least half an hour.

For the filling:

  1. To cook the pearl barley place it in a saucepan and add the crumbled dried mushrooms and bay. Add the water and bring to a gentle boil. The barley should take about 45 minutes to cook but make sure the water doesn’t dry out. Add more as needed. You are aiming for the barley to have absorbed all of the liquid by the time it is fully cooked. Remove the bay leaves.
  2. Roast the hazelnuts in the oven until they are golden. If you have whole hazelnuts you will need to rub their skins off. Wait until they have cooled though! Crush the roasted nuts in a pestle and mortar or bang them with a rolling pin in a sandwich bag.
  3. In a large sauce pan, sauté the leeks and shallots in splash of oil, and cook until soft. Add the garlic and stir for a couple of minutes.
  4. Turn up the heat and add the mushrooms and a splash of Madeira and a pinch of salt-the mushrooms should hiss a little when you add them to the pan and will become wet looking and then draw in all of those juices as they cook. You need to stir fry them until they are golden.
  5. Add the Cavolo Nero and stir until it begins to wilt, adding a splash more Madeira if you like (or a splash of stock or water).
  6. Combine the pearl barley with the mushrooms, cavolo nero and hazelnuts and stir well, taste and add salt and pepper generously and stir in chopped herbs to taste. Keep on cooking and stirring gently until the mixture is quite dry-too wet and the pastry will become soggy. Allow to cool a little before rolling.

To Assemble the Wellington:

  1. When you are ready to roll the wellington dust a clean surface with a little flour and roll out the pastry so that it is approximately 30cm by 40cm, make sure the pastry doesn’t stick to the surface.
  2. Trim the edges to make a neat rectangle.
  3. Place the pearl barley mixture in the centre of the pastry and press the cubes of cheese into the filling.
  4. Carefully roll the ends up so that you have a long sausage shape.
  5. Turn the wellington over so that the seam is on the bottom and give the pastry a gentle squeeze to push out any air bubbles.
  6. Tuck the ends in carefully and brush with egg or milk (or vegan alternative).
  7. If you like you can use any leftover pastry to decorate the top.
  8. Place on a greased baking tray and bake for 30minutes or until the pastry is golden and feels firm all over. If in doubt cook it for a few minutes longer as the bottom pastry will be thicker and will take extra time to cook.

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