Cauliflower wellington

Swap beef for saffron-spiced cauliflower in this impressive veggie wellington, perfect for a meat-free festive feast.


250g chestnut mushrooms
100g vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts
100ml olive oil
2 long shallots, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme, stalks removed
1 tbsp baharat
1 tsp sherry vinegar

6-8 leaves savoy cabbage, separated from the stalks
½ (about 300g) cauliflower, leaves removed
1g (a small pinch) saffron
100g caster sugar
500g block puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
100g butter, melted


  1. For the duxelles, put the mushrooms in a blender and pulse to a coarse rubble-like consistency. Tip into a bowl, then repeat with the chestnuts. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the shallots, thyme and a pinch of salt for 8-10 minutes or until soft. Add the baharat and fry for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms, chestnuts and another big pinch of salt. Fry for 15-20 minutes or until all of the moisture has evaporated from the mushrooms – the mixture should be very dry. Stir in the vinegar, then cool and chill.
  2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then drop in the cabbage leaves for 1 minute. Plunge into a bowl of iced water, then drain and put on a clean tea towel. Leave to cool and dry.
  3. Bring 2 litres of water to the boil and scatter in the saffron, sugar and 1 tbsp of salt. Boil the cauliflower for 5 minutes until you can slide a small knife through the florets with little resistance. Plunge into a bowl of iced water, then drain and put on a clean tea towel. Leave to cool and dry.
  4. Lay two overlapping sheets of clingfilm out on a clean worksurface and arrange four cabbage leaves across and four cabbage leaves down, overlapping. Spread the mushroom mixture on top of the cabbage, then spoon the cauliflower over one end and use the clingfilm to help you roll it up, tucking in the ends of the cabbage leaves so the cauliflower is enclosed. Twist the ends of the cling film to seal, then transfer to the fridge to chill and slightly set.
  5. Roll out the pastry into a large rectangle. Using plates as templates, cut out two circles: one 25cm circle and the other 27cm. Unwrap the wellington and put it on the smaller circle, seam-side down. Brush the exposed pastry with some of the melted butter, then drape over the larger circle and press together to seal, making sure to remove any air pockets as you go.
  6. Trim the excess pastry and use a fork to crimp the seal – this should be as close to the wellington as possible. Use the pastry off-cuts to make a plait, then adhere this down the centre of the wellington using some of the beaten egg. Stamp out four or five pastry leaves and stick these around the edges. Glaze the whole wellington with the remaining egg, then chill for 20 minutes.
  7. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 with a baking tray inside. Line a second baking tray with baking paper and top with the wellington. Slide this tray onto the hot tray in the oven and bake for 40 minutes until the wellington is golden brown on top, checking midway through – you may need to turn it to avoid burning.

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