What do a Pavlova, a bowl of cherry Garcia and a Margarita have in common? You got that one right! They are all foods named after a famous person. (The Pavlova meringue confection is named after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Cherry Garcia is named after, well, Jerry Garcia. The Margarita is named after Rita Hayworth.)
Here is a riff on another tribute food–the Wellington. The original dish, the beef Wellington, was named after the Dublin-born British military hero and Prime Minister, The Duke of Wellington–Arthur Wellesley to his friends. (Wellington, you will remember, was the hero of Waterloo, the fateful battle that inflicted a final crushing defeat on Napoleon and sent him into a last brooding exile in the mid-Atlantic.) A beef Wellington, if you are unfamiliar with it, is a decadent beef tenderloin slathered in foie gras and duxelles and wrapped in a tender-crispy puff pastry. Here is a photo of the hunky Wellesley:
In reality, the beef Wellington was probably an in-your-face rebranding of a French dish, the filet de boeuf en croute. Take that, France! When I read that bit of history, I was reminded of our own “Freedom Fry” moment. Remember when Congressman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) got himself all wrapped up in a tizzy and renamed the French fries in the Congressional cafeteria freedom fries? ( He was furious that the French refused to back our invasion of Iraq. French President Jacques Chirac argued that the U.S. invasion was premature and that U.N. weapons inspectors should be given more time to determine if Iraq did indeed possess weapons of mass destruction.)
Here is my adaptation of Melissa Clark’s butternut squash and mushroom Wellington. (http://Melissa Clark’s Butternut Squash and Mushroom Wellington)
By the way, Rita Hayworth’s real name was Margarita.
Yields 6-8 Servings
45 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
1 hr, 15 Total Time
- 4 T. butter
- 1 1/4 lb. butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
- 1 t. maple syrup
- 1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme
- 1/8 t. smoked sweet paprika (or regular paprika)
- 1/2 t. kosher salt (or more to taste)
- 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1 large shallot (finely chopped)
- 3/4 lb. cremini mushrooms (roughly chopped)
- 1/3 C. dry white wine
- 1/4 t. ground black pepper
- 2 T. chopped parsley
- 1 (14 to 16 ounce) package of puff pastry
- 1 C. crumbled goat cheese
- 1 egg (whisked with 1/2 t. water)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with either parchment or a Silipat mat.
- Divide your butternut cubes into two portions. Melt 1 T. butter over a medium-high heat. Put one portion of the butternut cubes into the hot skillet with the butter. The butternut squash cubes should lay on the pan in a single layer. The combination of the high heat and the butter will begin to caramelize the squash. Cook the squash for 4 minutes undisturbed. At 4 minutes, stir the squash and continue to cook for another 7 or 8 minutes. Watch the squash while it is cooking. You want it to caramelize but there is a fine line between that and burning. Remove from the pan and put into a bowl. Cook the other half of the butternut squash in 1 T. melted butter in the same way. At the end of the cooking, mix in the syrup, thyme, paprika and 1/4 t. salt. Cook for one more minute. Put this squash mixture into the bowl with the first half of the squash you cooked. Stir. Set aside.
- Turn your heat to medium and melt the remaining 2 T. of butter in the same skillet that you used to cook the squash. Add the garlic and the shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the remaining salt to the skillet and cook until the mushrooms soften and release their juices. Continue to cook the mushrooms until their liquid evaporates (about 10 minutes). Add the wine, stir and cook until the wine evaporates (5 minutes). Stir the pepper and parsley into the mixture. Adjust seasonings. Set aside.
- Lightly flour your working surface and unfold the defrosted puff pastry (follow directions for defrosting on the package). You will need one large sheet of the puff pastry (a 10 by 15 inch rectangle). Cut the puff pastry into two 5 inch by 15 inch rectangles. Leaving a 1/4 inch border around the edges of the puff pastry, arrange the chopped, cooked mushroom mixture down the center of the pastry. Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese over the mushrooms. Spoon the squash down the center of the mushrooms and cheese (you will want to make a thinner spread of the squash on top of the mushroom-cheese mixture (like a stripe of squash down the center of the mushrooms and cheese), leaving about a 1 1/2 inch border.
- Brush the exposed edges of your pastry with egg wash. Grab the short ends of the pastry and fold them toward the middle, crimping the edges of pastry to seal them. Now, pinch the long sides of the pastry together to seal that part. Turn the puff pastry package over and place seam down on your prepared baking sheet. Brush the top of your pastry with egg wash and bake for approximately 30 minutes until it is puffed and golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let the Wellington rest for a few minutes before cutting it. Cut into slices with a serrated knife and serve.