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Carrots in pastry make veggie Wellington

I love a classic recipe reinterpreted for modern times and diverse diets.

Take beef Wellington, for example. I love the concept. I love the presentation. I love puff pastry. I just don’t eat beef.

So when a cook encases something else — almost anything else — in puff pastry and calls it “Wellington,” I’m game. And when the filling isn’t a meat but a vegetable, the audience stands to expand exponentially.

This riff on Wellington enriches carrots with mushroom duxelles, just in time for spring’s flush of wild mushrooms. I’d likely keep the cremini called for here, maybe enhanced with a bit of porcini, if, available, topped with some sauteed morels. Fresh tarragon, featured in this blog’s previous post, brings that “je ne sais quoi” to the dish.

Carrot Wellington Hors d’Oeuvres

Tribune News Service photo

3 carrots, 8 to 9 inches long and 1-inch diameter, scrubbed and peeled

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 ounces cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

1 sheet store-bought puff pastry, thawed

1 large egg

Heat oven to 425 F. Place the carrots on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in preheated oven until carrots are lightly caramelized and a bit wrinkled, for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pulse the mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a clean dish towel; squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms; season with salt. Cook, stirring, until all moisture is gone and mushrooms begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add the shallot; cook until soft, for about 8 minutes. Add the wine; cook until liquid evaporates. Remove pan from heat; stir in the tarragon. Adjust seasonings. Let cool completely.

Unfold the sheet of puff pastry; roll out into a 9-by-12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Turn long side toward you. Cut into 3 equal pieces, each 4 by 9 inches.

Working with 1 piece at a time, spread 2 tablespoons mushroom mixture over surface, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Place a carrot in center, down pastry’s length; roll long edge snugly up and over carrot. Twist ends tightly to seal; cut off any excess puff pastry. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces.

Place Wellingtons on a baking sheet, seam side down. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water; brush generously over pastries. Bake at 425 F until golden brown, for about 8 minutes.

Using a serrated knife cut Wellingtons into 1 inch slices. (There will be some extra at the ends.)

Makes about 2 dozen pieces.

Recipe adapted by Tribune News service from “Peter Callahan’s Party Food.”