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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 14 July, 2020
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No turkey for Christmas dinner? Here's a vegan recipe from the head chef at Cornucopia

No animal products? No problem. A recipe for celeriac strudels with portobello mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.

Cornucopia

IF YOU’RE ESCHEWING the traditional turkey or animal-based centrepiece of your Christmas dinner this year, there are plenty of options to replace it.

But you do want to pick something that feels special – and that might take that bit of  prep time, just like cooking a turkey does.

These celeriac strudels with portobello mushrooms and sun‑dried tomatoes are full of umami flavour and are incredibly filling, and are show-stopping enough to impress your dining companions. Plus, they’re totally vegan and filled with vegetables. Win-win.

In this extract from Cornucopia: The Green Cookbook, you’ll learn how to make the celeriac strudel from scratch.

About the ingredients

Sweet, nutty and creamy with savoury undertones of celery, celeriac is an extremely versatile but undervalued root vegetable. Admittedly its knobbly, hairy appearance hardly makes a great first impression, but it offers an understated backdrop for many flavours and textures. Here it is used to great effect with crispy filo, sun-dried tomatoes, Portobello mushrooms and the wonderful combination of caraway and raspberry vinegar. A made-in-a-minute pea and chive salsa adds a flash of springtime cheer to a dish that can made from early autumn onwards.

Advance preparation

The night before, thaw the frozen filo pastry overnight in the fridge, and remove from the fridge an hour prior to use to bring to room temperature.

Method 

Grate the celeriac in a large mixing bowl. Mix a tablespoon of the vinegar with a little water and toss the grated celeriac in this to prevent it browning from oxidation. (A little lemon juice in water will do the same thing.) Set aside.

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a frying pan, fry off the mushrooms until nicely browned and set aside to cool.

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat, add the onions and minced garlic and sauté for about five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine and cook out the alcohol for five to 10 minutes before adding the remaining 50ml vinegar and ground caraway. 

Mill the sun-dried tomatoes in the food processor until they are well broken down into a stringy texture, rinse and add to the onion mixture together with the grated celeriac. Cook, stirring continuously, for another few minutes until the celeriac begins to break down.

Season to taste, and remove from the heat. Add the tofu (for soft tofu, just crumble it in, or grate it in, if hard) and stir to combine well. 

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Making the strudel

Clear a generous work space, remove the filo sheets from the packets, cover with a damp tea towel to prevent them drying out, and construct one strudel with six filo sheets, half the celeriac mixture and half the mushrooms as per these instructions:

A strudel is something like a giant spring roll, which you fill towards the top of a vertical strip of pastry, creating borders for tucking in, and then roll towards you.

  • Lay one sheet of filo pastry vertically on the counter and brush lightly with rapeseed oil. Top with a second sheet and brush this too.
  • Starting 6cm down from the top, pile one-sixth of the filling horizontally across the width of the pastry, but leaving a 6cm border on the left and right sides.
  • If you’re using any extra ingredients, like the mushroom slices, lay a few of these over the filling now.
  • Fold in both side borders over the filling and brush both resulting strips with a little oil. Fold down the top edge of the pastry over the filling and then carefully roll the strudel towards you like a giant spring roll.

Transfer carefully to the parchment-lined tray, brush with a little oil and top with a very light sprinkling of caraway seeds, if using.

Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling. Bake the strudels in the preheated oven for 40 – 45 minutes or until lightly browned.

While they are cooking, prepare the pea and chive salsa. (See below)

Serve piping hot slices with a generous dollop of the salsa.

Serves 6 • Complex. Can be made gluten-free with gluten-free filo pastry.

Ingredients

  • 12 sheets frozen vegan filo pastry, defrosted
  • (typically 6 per packet)
  • 60ml raspberry vinegar
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and grated (should yield
  • about 500–600g)
  • 300g Portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 160ml white wine
  • 1 tablespoon ground caraway seeds
  • 150g sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
  • 250g smoked tofu (soft or hard)
  • 1 teaspoon whole caraway seeds (optional)
  • rapeseed oil

You will need:

  • food processor
  • grater
  • pastry brush
  • large parchment-lined oven tray

Tip: These strudels can be assembled a day in advance, brushed with oil and
refrigerated overnight. 

Pea and chive salsa

Simple – gluten-free and wheat-free. 

With background flavours that are a little tangy, umami and sweet, this salsa lets the freshness of the peas and chives really sing.

1 large bunch (25g) fresh chives
1 tablespoon water
1 heaped tablespoon (5g) nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon apple concentrate or agave syrup
a pinch of salt
250g frozen peas, thawed

You will need:

  • high-speed blender or food processor

Combine all the ingredients except the peas in a high-speed blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the peas and pulse to break down a little and combine, but without blending to a completely smooth purée.

Serve with the strudels.

Cornucopia, on Dublin’s Wicklow St, has been serving up vegetarian fare for more than 30 years. Cornucopia: The Green Cookbook “is for anyone who feels there is merit in reducing or limiting our consumption of animal-based food products from a trusted team of chefs”

Cornucopia: The Green Cookbook is published by Gill Books, priced at €29.99. 

Green Christmas is supported by Volvo, a car manufacturer which has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2040.

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