The classic Beef Wellington reimagined with a more tasty, nutritious, and environmentally friendly black bean core. This Vegetarian Wellington is paired with a mushroom miso gravy, layering in loads of umami.
A vegetarian “Wellington” had been on my to-do list for some time. On a recent visit to Twenty Seven Steps in Christchurch, New Zealand, I tried the vegan Black Bean Wellington they had on the menu. The restaurant overall was great. I highly recommend it. But going fully vegan for the Black Bean Wellington was, to me, a step too far. It had lost a certain decadence that is part of the “Wellington” experience. It needed some… butter… and some eggs.
Drawing on various experiments involving vegetarian burger patties, for example, this veggie burger, I came up with a vegetarian Wellington core with the taste and texture I was looking for. I wanted it quite firm, definitely not mushy. And it needed to have a complex, umami-packed flavour. The combination of beans, nuts, mushrooms, and various aromatics produced a flavour-packed core with a great texture.
Beyond the core
A classic Wellington has outer layers that are as critical as its core. The duxelles was really delicious. And that crucial layer beyond the duxelles? The one to prevent the pastry from getting soggy? Normally a cured meat fills this function – bacon or prosciutto, for example. To get a thin tasty layer that wasn’t going to let moisture through, I used rice paper (the sort used to make Vietnamese summer rolls), brushed with a mixture of soy, hoisin, mirin, and rice vinegar. Not only was it tasty, but it also did its job and enabled the pastry to stay really crisp.
I purchased frozen flaky pastry. Yes, I could have made my own, but… I usually try to start from basic ingredients, especially where the commercially available combinations don’t work for me (e.g. instant stock, and ketchup). But flaky pastry is not in that category. The frozen stuff from the deli is likely to be as good as you can make yourself.
Don’t underestimate the gravy! A Wellington, any Wellington, needs a good gravy. Of course, a vegetarian Wellington needs a great vegetarian gravy. And this mushroom miso gravy did not disappoint. Mushrooms and miso, two of the great flavour enhancers, work together to make this gravy a critical part of this dish.
Black Bean Wellington with a mushroom miso gravy
Mushroom miso gravy (makes about 1 cup)
- 2 cups hot water
- 1 carrot
- 2 stalks celery
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 red pepper
- 1 onion
- 1 piece kombu 10x10cm
- 20 g dried shiitake mushrooms use in the stock for the gravy, then retrieve and use in the Wellington mixture
- Stalks from the fresh mushrooms used in the Duxelles and Wellington.
- 20 g butter for the roux
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp dark miso or red miso
- 1 Tbsp canola oli
- 20 g butter or just use 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 small onion
- 400 g large brown or portobello mushrooms finely chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Black Bean Wellington
- 1 red pepper
- 1 small onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- 150 g fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 6 rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms from the gravy stock
- 2 cups cooked black beans drained and rinsed (i.e. 2 x 400g/15oz cans)
- 1/2 cup unsalted walnuts or cashews or almonds, or a mix
- 1/2 cup oat flour or blend 1/2 cup oats until flour like
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp dark miso or a tsp of Marmite or Vegemite
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 eggs 1 for the black bean mixture and one for brushing the pastry
- 500 g sheet puff pastry
- Combine the soy sauce, mirin, hoisin sauce, and rice vinegar.
- Chop the onion and garlic very finely.
- In a wok or large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the mushrooms and onion and stir to coat with the oil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the salt and pepper.
- Sauté the mushrooms and onion until any moisture they release has evaporated and they are just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add the red wine to deglaze the pan and continue to sauté until it has evaporated.
- Remove from the heat.
Mushroom miso gravy
- Put the hot water, kombu, and dried shiitake mushrooms in a saucepan. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
- Bring up to a boil then remove the kombu.
- Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, carrot, celery, and mushroom stalks.
- Bring back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for 45 minutes.
- Strain the stock. Should be 1 to 1.5 cups. Retrieve the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms and set aside for the Wellington.
- Melt the butter in a pan, sprinkle in the flour and stir to form a paste. Cook the paste until it achieves a tan colour.
- Slowly add the stock, stirring all the time.
- Add the dark miso and whisk in.
- Strain the gravy to get a really silky consistency.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Black Bean core
- Preheat the oven to 170 degC
- Quarter the red pepper and remove the stalk and pith.
- Peel the onion and garlic cloves.
- Wrap the red pepper, onion, and garlic in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
- Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
- Let cool while still wrapped in the foil. Peel off as much of the red pepper skin as you can.
- Lay the drained and rinsed black beans on baking paper in a baking tray and put in the oven until they start to dry out and the skins begin to split, about 10 minutes.
- Dice the fresh shiitake mushrooms and sauté until any moisture they release has evaporated and they are just starting to brown.
- In a food processor, blend together half of the black beans, the red pepper, tomato paste, onion, garlic, nuts, and oats.
- Add the other half of the black beans, the sautéed fresh shiitake mushrooms, and the rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms from the gravy, and pulse so they break up a little, but are still a little chunky.
- Remove to a bowl and stir in the paprika, chilli flakes, cumin, and egg.
- Form the mixture into a cylinder about 6 cm in diameter and 15-20 cm long.
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap then store in the freezer until it firms up a bit, up to 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator.
Black Bean Wellington assembly
- Preheat the oven temperature to 180 degC
- Whisk the other egg in a bowl.
- Form the pastry into a rectangle approximately A4 size.
- Lay the rice paper on to the pastry, keeping a 2 cm gap clear around the edges.
- To create the “prosciutto”, brush the rice paper with soy, mirin, hoisin mix. Use just enough to light moisten the rice paper.
- Spread the “duxelles” out over the “prosciutto”.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the black bean core, and lay it in the middle of the duxelles, “prosciutto”, and pastry.
- Brush the egg around the edges of the pastry.
- Roll up into something that resembles a beef wellington, but with our black bean concoction rather than the meat.
- Brush the pastry with the egg mixture.
- Place on a floured baking tray and put in the top the oven.
- Bake for 60 minutes, or until golden brown.