Wild Mushroom Vol-au-vents

I always look out for wild mushrooms at this time of year, as they are so good and abundantly available.  I wouldn’t ever go foraging on my own, despite owning several mushroom books, as I don’t have enough knowledge, but I’d definitely be up for an organised foray with an expert.

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I picked up some really nice wild mushrooms early this morning at the market. My selection included oyster, shiitake, maitake and a few field mushrooms, but creamed mushrooms would be good with any selection of fresh, earthy wild mushrooms.

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I think its best to eat mushrooms as soon as possible, they go slimy and pretty nasty if you keep them for too long.  I don’t like to leave them wrapped in plastic either, a paper bag or basket is best.

I made creamed mushrooms with my batch and mushrooms on toast is the perfect quick supper for this time of year.

Wild mushrooms

With the rest of the mushrooms, I decided to make retro mushroom vol-au-vents.  My prawn and avocado vol-au-vents recipe is actually my most viewed post, so I thought I would have to do the other vol-au-vents that I remember from the family Christmas parties from all those years ago.

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The mushroom vol-au-vents were one of the first things to go from the buffet table (unlike my poor Grandma’s prawn ones).  They were always made from those creamed button mushrooms from a can and placed into frozen pastry cases.  I was never a fan, but I thought it was time to bring back the retro mushroom vol-au-vent and use fresh, wild mushrooms, thyme and home made cases (I did buy the ready-made puff pastry though!)  The result was a really nice, seasonal treat that makes the most of the wild mushrooms that are around right now, but would also be great on a Christmas buffet table as a tasty nostalgic reminder.

Mushroom vol au vents

Ingredients:
A selection of wild mushrooms – I used two punnets
Knob of butter and a little splash of olive oil
1 onion or a couple of shallots, finely chopped
Small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
1tsp Dijon mustard
2-3tbs cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sheets of puff pastry, or you could use frozen cases
1 egg, beaten

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F
Cut out the bases for the vol-au-vents and place on a lined baking sheet or parchment.  I got 12 bases from one sheet.  Then cut out another 12 from the second sheet of pastry and cut holes out of the second set with a smaller cutter.

Brush the bases with beaten egg and place the rings onto the bases.  If the pastry warms up and becomes difficult to handle, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm it up.

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Brush the tops with the egg and bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are golden, crisp and all puffed up.  You can also brush the ‘holes’ with egg and bake those alongside the pastry cases.  Leave on a cooling rack while you make the filling.

Tear up the mushrooms or roughly chop and strip the thyme leaves from the stems if they are woody and give them a chop too.

Heat the butter and oil until foamy and add in the finely chopped onion with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.  When they are translucent, add in 1-2tsp of thyme leaves and then the mushrooms.  Cook them until they are nice and golden and then stir through a little cream and check the seasoning.

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At this point, you can serve the creamed mushrooms on some toasted, buttered sourdough, or fill the vol-au-vents.  I had enough for both!

Mushrooms on toast

For the vol-au-vents, I simply press down the centre that rises up as they bake (I don’t bother docking the raw pastry with a fork) and fill with the creamed mushrooms, sprinkle over a little more thyme leaves.

Serve as a canapé with or without the lids depending on how retro you want to be!

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These are really good in a larger pastry case too, served with a green salad as a first course or a light lunch.

Mushroom and Stilton Wellington

The mushrooms in this are a great alternative to meat and make a substantial and delicious supper dish for a cold winter night.

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This serves 2, but you could easily double this to feed 4 people. I would serve this with a side salad, but the addition of sweet potato fries would be good too!

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Ingredients:
5 field mushrooms – stalks removed and one of them chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1.5tbs olive oil
1tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small bunch of thyme – leaves removed and roughly chopped
Small bunch of Cavolo Nero – tough ribs removed and roughly chopped
100g mature blue Stilton cheese, crumbled
1 pack of puff pastry
1 egg beaten with a little milk to make a wash

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Method:
Heat oven to 220°C/425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick liner

Heat 1tbs of the oil in a large pan and fry 4 of the mushrooms for around 4 mins on each side until golden and cooked through. Set aside on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil and moisture.

Place the pan back on the heat and add the rest of the oil. Add the chopped mushroom, onion, thyme, salt and pepper. Fry until the onion is soft and translucent. Then add the kale and continue to cook until wilted, before setting aside to cool.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the puff pastry until it is a little under half a centimetre thick.

Using a large cookie cutter or a small bowl; cut out two circles that are 2cm wider than the mushrooms. These will be the bases. Then cut another two circles about 8cm wider for the tops. You need the tops to be big enough to cover the mushrooms without stretching, so go bigger if your mushrooms are on the large size.

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Place the two base circles on the baking sheet and add a quarter of the vegetable mixture, taking care not to spread it wider than the mushrooms.

Place a mushroom, cap down and top with half of the cheese. Place another mushroom cap side up and add another quarter of the vegetable mixture.

Brush the pastry base border around each mushroom with egg and then layer the top circle of party over the filling, like a large ravioli.

Use your hand to gently smooth the pasty over the mushrooms and make sure you have not trapped any air in the parcel. Just take care not to stretch the pastry, as it can shrink in the oven and open up.

Seal the edges together using a fork.

Mushroom Wellington

Trim any untidy edges – I used a small bowl over the parcels and cut around the edge.

Brush each wellington with egg and bake for 30-40 mins until golden brown and puffed.

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Serve with a green salad and sweet potato fries for a delicious vegetarian dinner.

Spinach makes a good alternative to the kale and feel free to up the cheese content for an extra indulgent treat.