We are gearing up for the big meal next week, and in our kitchen we do things a little bit differently. For the last several years we’ve been doing a vegetarian spread that always delights. Jeffrey has collected some killer recipes over the years that not only taste delicious, but leave everyone totally satisfied. A few weeks ago, we shared some tips on how to dress a thanksgiving table, which featured a few of these special dishes. We wanted to give you a little recap here with the recipes.
When we have friends over for the holidays, they get a little nervous when they find out that we won’t be serving meat at our holiday table, but all of that disappears when they dive in for their first bite of our Veggie Wellie, one of Jeffrey’s specialties! This recipe is inspired by Jeffrey’s favorite chef, Jamie Oliver. One of the things he likes about Jamie is that he encourages experimentation and he doesn’t take his cooking too seriously. So, if you have any creative ideas to add to the recipe… go for it!
You’ll start by de-seeding the butternut squash, and cutting it into 8-12 wedges lengthwise. Put the wedges in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, dried red chilies, and cinnamon. In a mortar and pestle, crush the coriander seeds and the rosemary leaves together. Sprinkle this over the butternut squash, and mix it all together so that the squash wedges are coated with the mixture. Put the wedges on a baking sheet, skin side down, cover and bake at 425 degrees until soft – 45 minutes or so. Set this aside, and allow to cool.
While the squash is baking, heat some olive oil in a pan and add the onions, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté over medium heat until they are soft and starting to brown. It's going to seem like a lot of onions, but they will cook down and end up with a mild taste. Crumble the chestnuts, and add to the pan along with the sage, and cook until the sage leaves have gone soft. While this is happening, toast the bread. After toasting, rub two of the cloves of garlic on both sides of the slices. Cut or tear the garlicky bread into little pieces, and add to the onions. Grate in the zest of the lemon, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir together. Turn off the heat and let this cool. In a frying pan, melt the vegan spread over medium heat, and add the mushrooms and a clove of garlic sliced. Fry the mushrooms. They will soak up the liquid so don’t worry about burning them. Just keep frying them until they are soft and shriveled up. Juice the lemon and add to the mushrooms. Put this into a food processor and blitz until “smooth”.
At the same time as this, boil some water in a saucepan, and tear the Swiss chard, kale, or spinach and cook until soft. Toss into a colander or sieve, and press as much water out of the boiled greens as possible. This is important because you don’t want excess moisture inside the pastry. You’ll be left with a small amount of cooked greens. In another frying pan, heat up some olive oil on medium heat, and throw in the pine nuts. Fry them until they start to turn light brown. Be careful not to burn them. Slice the other two cloves of garlic and add them until they too turn gold. Now add the raisins, and the boiled greens. Stir until everything is mixed together and warm.
Now the fun part…
Roll the puff pastry into a rectangle on parchment paper. Spoon the mushroom mixture out, and spread over the whole pastry, leaving a clean border of about 1 inch all around the edge of the pastry. Put the squash/bread/onion/chestnut/gr
Brush the same nut milk or egg/milk mixture, onto the exposed pastry on the ends, and roll the ends to seal the whole thing. Pinch with your fingers, or press lightly with a fork to close it all up. Using the parchment paper, lift the whole thing and place onto a baking sheet. Roll the Wellington onto the sheet so that the pastry seam is underneath. Brush the whole thing with the nut milk or egg/nutmilk mixture and slide it into a 400ºF oven. Bake this until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. It should take around 45 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes, and then slice into nice thick slices and serve with a vegan gravy. Delish!
The vegan gravy recipe is one if Jeffrey’s favorite things to make. It’s not precise and, according to Jeffrey, ”it’s like cooking with a 2×4!” It includes rough chopping and some charring which gives the gravy it’s savory flavor. Jeffrey learned and adapted this specific gravy from… you guessed it… Jamie Oliver. Here’s the recipe that Jeffrey uses to top his favorite meal.
If you have a deep iron skillet, now’s the time to use it. If not, use what you have, but avoid using non-stick skillets. We want things to stick and char a bit. This will give a nice hearty flavor to this meatless gravy. Get the skillet hot over medium heat and add some olive oil. Chop a couple of carrots, a couple of onions, and a couple stalks of celery and throw it in the skillet along with the dried mushrooms. Fry all of this until the veggies are nice and golden brown. This might take 25 minutes or a little longer depending on the size of the veggie chunks or your stove, etc.
Then, you’ll add in a good splash of the port (2-3 tbsp ought to do it), and the jam (again 2-3 tbsp). Keep cooking this in the skillet until things get good and sticky. Keep scraping things off the bottom of the pan, and when it all starts to caramelize and smell delicious, add in the flour, the marmite, a dollop of tomato purée, and the vinegar. Mix all of this together, and again, cook and scrape until it gets even stickier. Now add the veggie stock (Jeffrey prefers to use Better Than Boullion Brand Seasoned Vegetable Base). Bring the whole thing to a nice boil, and then reduce the heat and let simmer until you have achieved the desired thickness. Pour all of this through a sieve and press all of the juices out of the veggies into a large bowl. Keep pressing until you get every last savory drop out of the veggies. Et voilà! It is ready to drizzle atop your meal.
Every holiday gathering needs a signature cocktail. And for us, JD’s Belly Warmer is our favorite. In a snifter, pour 2 oz of your favorite French brandy and 1 oz of amaro (Jeffrey prefers the Margerum brand) . Soak a sugar cube in absinthe and set it on a spoon. Light the sugar cube and let it burn until the flame goes out. The flame might be hard to see, especially if outdoors, so use caution. Once the flame has gone out, drop the now absinthe caramelized sugar cube into the snifter, and swirl. Don’t worry about breaking up the cube… Jeffrey likes to leave it in the bottom so that it slowly dissolves as you drink the drink. Keep swirling and sipping until the snifter is empty!
Many reach for a Thanksgiving classic dessert like pumpkin pie but we prefer something a little more unique and Jeffrey’s recipe is quite the showstopper: the Cockney Crumble.
To start off this dish you’ll core, peel and slice the apples and pears. Put the apples, sugar, and 1 tbs of water in a pan, and cook the apples until they are just starting to get soft. Then mix in the pears and cook for a bit longer, just to get it all mixed together and until the pears are warm. Pour the whole mixture into your favorite baking dish. Pour the brown rice flour and oats into a bowl and mix. Cut up the coconut spread into small pieces and using your hands, pinch and work it into the rice/oats mixture until it has the consistency of bread crumbs. Mix in the walnuts and sugar, and mix. Spread the mixture over the top of the fruit. Bake in the over at 375ºF for about 20 minutes. Once it’s bubbling and crispy brown on top, take it out, and enjoy!
Thank you for following along as we share our inspirations with you. Jeffrey and I are wishing you and your loved ones a beautiful gathering and a very Happy Thanksgiving!