Food

Anna Olson's Mushroom and Brie Wellington is an easy vegetarian offering that belongs on your holiday menu

It’s wrapped in puff pastry, filled with luscious Brie and topped with a creamy caramelized onion sauce — need we say more?

It’s wrapped in puff pastry, filled with Brie and topped with a caramelized onion sauce — need we say more?

(Photo credit: Janis Nicolay)

While we often think of turkeyham or even brisket as the anchor of a holiday feast, this Mushroom and Brie Wellington from Anna Olson’s new cookbook Set for the Holidays with Anna Olson proves that meat-free mains undoubtedly deserve to join their ranks. Wrapped in — everyone’s favourite — puff pastry, filled with luscious slices of Brie and paired alongside a creamy, brandy-spiked caramelized onion sauce, it’s decadent enough to give you that comfort food feeling, but not so heavy that you’ll fill up before digging into your favourite festive sides. Better yet, the Wellington and the sauce can be prepped ahead of time, so there’s one less thing you have to worry about on the big day.

Mushroom and Brie Wellington with Caramelized Onion Cream

By Anna Olson

This dish is worthy of presenting at the table to be carved, at holiday time or any special occasion. A filling of thyme-scented mushrooms and melted Brie are revealed when the golden puff pastry is sliced. Serving it with the Caramelized Onion Cream makes it worthy of a main course, although it can also be served as a side dish with scrambled eggs at a decadent holiday brunch.

Ingredients

Wellington:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or butter
  • 2 shallots, sliced, or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 ¼ lb (565 g) cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 oz brandy
  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 4 oz (120 g) Brie cheese, cut into pieces
  • 2 sheets (1 lb/450 g) butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg mixed with 2 tbsp water, for egg wash

Caramelized Onion Cream:

  • 1 recipe Caramelized Onions (see below)
  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Salt and black pepper

Caramelized Onions:

  • 3 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry Sherry or dry white wine

Preparation

For the wellington:

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the oil (or butter), shallots (or onions) and mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms until they are fully cooked and any liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and thyme and season lightly with salt and pepper, cooking the mixture for 1 minute more. Add the brandy and remove the mushrooms from the heat to cool to room temperature. Then stir in the breadcrumbs and the pieces of Brie.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Place the puff pastry sheets on top of each other on a work surface. Use a sharp knife to trim off 2 strips, each 1 ½ inches (3.5 cm) wide, from opposite sides (creating a rectangle shape) of each piece of pastry and set aside. (You will have 4 strips in total.)

Place 1 sheet of pastry onto the prepared baking tray. Brush the edges with the egg wash and use the reserved strips to create a frame on the pastry base, trimming them as needed so that they fit snugly and then brushing them with the egg wash. Spoon the cooled mushroom filling into the centre of the pastry frame then spread it out so that it covers the entire pastry base (but not the strips creating the frame) and press it in firmly.

Place the second sheet of pastry overtop, stretching it if needed, to have it reach the edges of the base pastry. Brush the top of the Wellington with the egg wash. Using kitchen scissors, snip little air vents into the top of the Wellington.

Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the oven to 375°F (190°C) and cook for another 35 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is a rich golden brown. Allow the Wellington to cool for 10 minutes.

For the Caramelized Onions:

Heat a stainless steel, cast iron skillet or enamel coated sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter (or oil). (Don’t use a non-stick pan; you want the onions to stick a little.) Add the onions, thyme and a little salt and pepper and stir to coat the onions. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the onions begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. About halfway through cooking, when brown bits start sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a splash of Sherry (or wine) and use the wooden spoon to loosen all those flavourful bits. Continue to cook the onions, adding splashes of Sherry (or wine) to lift the brown bits, until they are a rich brown, an additional 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the onions cool. Chill until needed.

For the Caramelized Onion Cream:

Place the caramelized onions in a medium saucepan over medium heat to warm them. Stir in the brandy and the cream, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice the Wellington into individual portions and serve with the warm caramelized onion cream on the side.

Note: You can assemble the Wellington up to 1 day ahead and refrigerate it unbaked and well wrapped. It is freshly baked, although reheated leftovers are still quite scrumptious. You can refrigerate the onion cream in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then gently reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it begins to bubble, about 6 minutes.


Excerpted from Set for the Holidays with Anna Olson by Anna Olson. Copyright © 2018 Olson Food Concepts Inc. Photography by Janis Nicolay. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Servings: Makes 6 servings

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.