Hands up who needs a fool proof vegan main for Christmas and is having a mild panic about what to serve? Well I nearly was, but I remembered this..
Actually, this recipe isn’t a new idea, in fact, the beginnings of this recipe started last Christmas, when I made a mini version of this with chestnuts and red wine. It tasted great, but was so delicious I could only eat about three bites. I’d made it far too rich to really enjoy.
I tried again with a few other mixes, never *quite* getting it right, until I hit on the idea of adding carrots, and happily off to try that.
And realised the carrots I had planned to add to the mix that I’d saved in the fridge were actually those long pointy peppers.
Do I need glasses?
Fortunately, my mistake was to my advantage. I added finely chopped peppers instead along with some white wine instead of the original red wine & I ended up with a delicious savoury mix that was perfect to make my Mushroom & Lentil En Croute.
Now, my love of filo pastry is legendary, (tell me if you’re sick of it- I’m not!) I mean, what’s not to love? Flaky crunchy sheets, that simply get brushed with olive oil before wrapping something delicious. It even looks brilliant when it is simply scrunched together. No faffing around with fancy lattice work, just scrunch and go for a lovely ruffled effect.
Which is why, once you’ve made up the Lentil & Mushroom mix, all you need to do is let it cool then lay out four or five sheets of filo, each brushed with some olive oil, then mound the Lentil & Mushroom filling into a sort of loaf shape, before folding the pastry up to envelope it, and sort of scrunch folding it to form the pretty ruffled top.
Once it is cooked, be sure to carefully transfer it to a pretty serving dish, to be born ceremoniously to the table & sliced up & , if you’re eating this in the Northern Hemisphere, to be served alongside perfectly roasted potatoes, tasty stir fried Brussel Sprouts (It IS possible, I promise to make these
horrors little green morsels edible! See here for a fool proof recipe) and all the other wonderful trimmings of Christmas Dinner.
This year however I’m in Australia for Christmas, so this will be served alongside a billion different salads, and I’ll make my very favourite salsa verde to accompany it. If you’re lucky I’ll remember to post that recipe later!
- 250 g brown Lentils
- 250 g Chestnut mushrooms , sliced
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 large onion , finely chopped
- 1 large pointy red pepper , finely chopped
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/2 mild chilli pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon vegemite (or marmite!)
- 1 teaspoon boullion/stock powder
- 2-3 cups of water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pack filo pastry ( you need at least 5 sheets)
- Olive oil (around 3 Tbs)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Sweat the garlic, chilli, onion and red peppers in a teaspoon of olive oil.
Add the mushrooms and let sizzle until the mushrooms are reduced.
Add the lentils and swish around in the oil then add the white wine and let it absorb.
Add the stock powder, vegemite, herbs (thyme and bay leaf) and water
Simmer the lentils until soft and squishy, adding more water if needed, but not too much, you want the mixture to be firm. This will take around 20 mins.
Remove the bay leaf and allow the mix to cool, preferably overnight in the fridge.
When cool and firm, layer the filo sheets one by one, slicking each with olive oil.
Put the mixture in a rough loaf shape and wrap the filo over the top, scrunching it up like a parcel
Bake in a moderate oven (200C /Gas mark 7 ) for 20 mins or until crispy.
This is brilliant to make ahead, just bake until the filo is just crispy but not coloured. Then store in the fridge overnight, or even for a day and re-heat, which will crisp up the filo and warm it through.