This recipe is fabulous to eat freshly made or to prepare in advance and freeze. It is perfect for those unexpected Christmas guests and even better if one of them is a vegetarian. Most people think it is some kind of giant sausage roll but the discerning realise on the first bite it is a special concoction of chestnuts and mushrooms infused with the smell of lemon and thyme, and studded with cranberries. This week my 16 year old neighbour Molly helped me make one and she loved it. ‘I have never used any of these ingredients before’ she told me as she tasted the filling and adjusted the seasoning. So this shows it is great for teenagers too! Enjoy Christmas.
Serves 6 – 8
Preheat oven to 200°C (gas mark 6)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
300g mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tsp of thyme leaves
100g brazil nuts, briefly blitzed in a food processor
200g chestnuts, cooked, peeled and ready to use
25g poppy seeds
25g dried cranberries
zest from half a lemon
1 egg, beaten
30g fresh brown breadcrumbs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
375g ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Extra poppy seeds for decoration
Place the olive oil and butter in a pan, add the chopped onions and garlic and sweat over a moderate heat for 10 minutes until soft.
Add the mushrooms and thyme and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender and their juice has almost all evaporated. Allow to cool a little.
Place the mushroom mixture in a food processor and give it a very brief blitz to roughly chop the mixture.
Place the mushrooms mixture in a mixing bowl and add chopped brazil nuts and chestnuts; poppy seeds, cranberries, lemon zest and beaten egg. Mix well and add enough breadcrumbs to bring the mixture together.
Season with salt and pepper.
Unfurl the puff pastry and lay it on a baking sheet on a piece of baking parchment. It should measure approximately 40cm by 25cm. Place the filling along the length of the pastry leaving a wide margin along either side of the filling.
With a sharp knife make 10 diagonal cuts along the pastry down either side of the filling. Fold the top and bottom ends of the pastry over the filling and then plait the strands of pastry over each other.
Brush the plaited pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with extra poppy seeds. Place the roulade in the preheated oven and cook for 30 mins or until golden brown and crisp.
Lovely served with onion jam.
Allow the roulade to cool. Double wrap in foil and place in the freezer. The day before you need to serve the roulade, defrost in a fridge over night. Reheat in an oven preheated to 200C for 10 minutes or until piping hot all the way through. Insert a sharp knife to the centre of the roulade to test it is hot in the centre.