Making a dish like this can seem daunting, but if you give yourself enough time, you are rewarded with something that is extremely impressive to both vegetarians and carnivores alike. The different layers offer a variety of flavours with the Tagine Paste providing a subtle smoky background flavour, and the colours look excellent once the wellington is sliced up.
1 large bunch of beetroots, around 3-4 medium sized
2 packets (around 650g in total) ready rolled all butter puff pastry (blocks are fine too, but will need to roll out)
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
3 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
300g chopped mushrooms,
1 large sprig each of rosemary and thyme, leaves stripped from the stalk and chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp Tagine Paste
500g spinach, blanched and chopped
250g Ricotta di Bufala
Fresh nutmeg, grated, to taste
¼ jar Belazu cooked lentils (165g)
1 egg yolk
Clean the beetroots of any grit or dirt then place in a large pan of salted water and bring to the boil. cook for around 1 hour – to test if they are ready, you should be able to insert a small sharp knife into the centre. Drain into a colander and when cool enough, peel off the skin. Set aside.
Whilst the beetroots are cooking, roll out the puff pastry if you have brought blocks, so that you have 2 sheets around 25cm x 40cm and 1 cm thick. Keep in the fridge with baking paper separating them. If you are using ready rolled puff pastry, un-roll the first layer and place on the tray that you intend to bake the wellington on, with a piece of baking parchment underneath.
Begin to make the filling by placing a large frying pan on a medium to high heat, add the olive oil and when hot, add the red onion, mushrooms, garlic and rosemary and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft, around 10-15 minutes, turning the heat down if the onions or garlic begin to darken. Add the tagine paste and cook for another 3-4 minutes to release the flavours. Turn the heat off and set aside to cool.
While the above is cooking, put a medium pan of water onto and high heat and bring to the boil. Blanch the spinach for 20 second, then drain into a colander. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much as water as possible then roughly chop. Place in a bowl and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper then add the ricotta and lentils and mix. Taste and add more seasoning if you think it needs it.
When everything is ready, assemble the wellington. Take the bottom layer of pastry out of the fridge and if you have not already, place on a baking tray with baking paper or a silicon mat underneath. Spread a layer of the mushroom mixture on the bottom, leaving a 5cm gap all around the edges. Next, add a layer of the ricotta and spinach mix. Now place the beetroots in a row in the middle (depending on the size of the beetroots, you can leave them whole or cut them in half.
Cover beetroots with remaining ricotta mix, filling the gaps between beetroots. Now cover all of this with the remaining mushroom mix, so that the beetroots are completely covered.
Beat the egg yolk with the milk in a small bowl or ramekin until combined. Brush the edge of the base layer of pastry. Remove the next layer of pastry from the fridge and carefully drape over the top, pushing down around the edges. Seal the edges with a fork or handle of a spoon so that you have a crimped edge all the way around. Use a pastry brush to wash with egg glaze and chill for at least 30 mins. The wellington is now ready to cook so can be prepared up to this point in advance.
When ready to cook, heat an oven to 195C fan / 205 non-fan. Brush all over again with egg wash. Bake for 20 mins then turn the tray around in the oven and turn down heat to 180C fan /190C non-fan and cook for a further 30 mins. Insert a metal skewer into the middle to see if hot inside and when ready to serve, slice into thick slices.