It’s not even Christmas and my jeans are already a bit on the snug side but who cares, because this year, I’m full of Christmas cheer, merriment and mince pies. I’ve been eating and drinking my way through the season with the dedication you would expect to see from an Olympic athlete. Naturally I look and feel like utter shit but I’m determined to stick to only the most important food groups; chocolate, cheese, wine and butter – I can unclog my arteries in January.
Right so, as usual nut roast is NOT on the menu (whoever thought mushing nuts and baking them would taste nice was clearly a lunatic). So, if you’re looking for a great vegetarian option this Christmas day for yourself or a guest, look no further. This is my mums recipe and she’s cooked it for me and my family every Christmas as long as I can remember. However, as she’s currently recovering from chemotherapy, it’s up to me to have a go at cooking them this year. Wish me luck and have yourself a merry little Christmas.
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Mushroom & gruyère parcels
Makes 4 Parcels / Hands on time 40 mins / Total time 1 hr 20 mins / ❄
Knob of unsalted butter
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbs plain flour
75ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Small handful freshly chopped parsley
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
60g Gruyere cheese* or vegetarian equivalent, grated
320g ready rolled puff pastry (I like to use Jus-Rol)
❄ The parcels are suitable for home freezing once assembled for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before cooking.
❄ The mushroom mixture is also suitable for home freezing for up to 3 months.
*Gruyére is a cheese of protected status originating from Switzerland. The production and maturation is defined in Swiss law and all Swiss Gruyère producers must follow these rules, however this doesn’t specify the use of animal rennet. Therefore it could or could not be vegetarian. Use an alternative if you are vegetarian.
TIP: Make in advance and freeze before cooking to save yourself Christmas day stress. Wrap each parcel individually in a few layers of cling film before freezing. Defrost thoroughly before cooking.
1. In a large saucepan or pot on a medium heat, sweat down the chopped onion in a generous knob of butter for about 10 minutes or until soft and slightly translucent. Add the chopped garlic and the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add a tablespoon of plain flour and mix well before adding the milk gradually, stirring continuously for a couple of minutes until thickened. Take off the heat before adding the mustard, herbs and the egg. Mix well until combined and season with salt and pepper before covering and leaving to cool for 20 minutes. Now is a good time to pre-heat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6.
3. Roll out your sheet of puff pastry onto a clean surface and divide into 4 even-ish squares (I use ready rolled pastry which comes in an oblong shape so I simply cut a couple of inches off one end).
4. Place your pastry squares on a couple of lined baking trays before you start assembling them. Once your mixture has cooled, spoon a couple of tablespoons of the mushroom mixture into the centre of one of your pastry squares before carefully folding the corners of the pastry in on itself. This will create a kind of envelope shape. Try and prevent the mixture from spilling out the gaps but don’t worry if it does a bit. Repeat until you have four pastry parcels. Put both trays in the fridge and allow to chill for a further 20 minutes. Once chilled you now have the option of freezing them if you’re making them in advance. Simply wrap each individual parcel in a few layers of clingfilm and freeze. (Allow to defrost fully before cooking).
5. Brush each parcel with milk and top with a good sprinkling of gruyere cheese. Season with salt and pepper and pop in the oven for 25 minutes. Serve immediately as part of a Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. Merry Christmas.
If you’ve had a go at making my mushroom parcels or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com