So I promised that my next recipe would be vegetarian, and here it is!
Being a big lover of meat (lamb, pork, beef – I’m really not fussy), and also someone who really does not like cheese (I understand some people will find this truly shocking and will question my integrity as a food blogger), vegetarian dishes do not come naturally to me. So I was a little nervous, but also quite excited, when a friend of mine challenged me to make my next recipe a vegetarian one. Getting out of my comfort zone and having to put in a little research time has been fun.
When it comes to meat dishes I’m happy to do my own take on old classics, or just completely make it up as I go along. For some reason I didn’t feel confident enough to do that with this, so set about looking through numerous vegetarian recipes, trying hard to avoid the old clichés as well as find something that didn’t contain cheese.
The recipe I decided on was Mushroom & Tarragon Strudel, taken from the BBC Good Food website. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, I really did enjoy it, although I’ll admit to adapting it slightly to give a deeper flavour. Firstly, there is no mention of seasoning in the original recipe, and whilst I’m all for getting flavour in to a meal using healthy ingredients such as herbs and spices, this really did benefit from a little salt and pepper (plus a dash of Worcestershire sauce!). Also, it suggests serving with a Madeira sauce which I’m sure would be delicious. However, I opted to make a mushroom sauce instead. All in all, I really did enjoy the meal, and certainly didn’t feel deprived as I thought I may have done. The lack of meat also meant that it was incredibly WeightWatchers friendly – bonus!
So here goes…
- 2 onions , halved and thinly sliced
- 85g butter
- 500g pack flat mushrooms , sliced
- 150g pack shiitake mushrooms
- 250g chestnut mushrooms , sliced
- 4 garlic cloves , crushed
- 1 tbsp Madeira
- 2 tbsp chopped tarragon , plus extra to serve
- 50g fresh breadcrumbs
- 175g marinated sundried tomatoes, sliced
- 125g pack button mushrooms
- 40g pine nuts , plus extra (toasted) to serve
- 9 large sheets filo pastry
- sunflower oil , for brushing
In a large frying pan, fry the onions in half of the butter. Add the flat and chestnut mushrooms and fry until softened.
Next add the shitake mushrooms and garlic and fry on a high heat to evaporate as much of the liquid as possible.
Stir in the Madeira, tarragon, tomatoes and breadcrumbs (I made these by blitzing a couple of slices of granary bread in the food processor) and remove from the heat.
In a separate frying pan, fry the button mushrooms and pine nuts in the remaining butter. Fry until mushrooms are slightly softened and pine nuts are golden, then add to the mushroom/tomato mix. Leave to cool.
Lay a sheet of filo pastry on to a baking sheet and brush with sunflower oil. Place a second sheet on top of the first and again brush with the oil. Keep doing this until you have 4 layers.
Place half of the mushroom mix down the long length of the pastry, leaving a couple of cms at each end filling free. Fold up the ends and then roll like a cigar. Paint with some more sunflower oil before tearing up another sheet of filo and scattering over the top to give a rustic look and delicious crispy bits.
Repeat this process with the remaining half of the mushroom mix so that you have 2 strudels. These can be made up to a day in advance and chilled until ready to cook.
Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and piping hot. Slice and serve with the extra toasted pine nuts, a sprinkling of tarragon and the Madeira sauce – or in my case mushroom sauce.
If wanting to make the mushroom sauce, fry a handful of sliced mushrooms in a little butter and garlic. In a separate pan, make up a white sauce. Add the mushrooms to the white sauce with a dash of Worcestershire sauce and tbsp or 2 of soy sauce.
I’d really love to hear any feedback from vegetarians (or those who just enjoy vegetarian dishes). Let me know if you make this and what you think, or feel free to just recommend further dishes for me to try in the future!