Today is the first time that I am celebrating my saints day as a newly baptized Orthodox Christian!! From what I have been told, it is more important than celebrating one’s birthday. St. Anastasia the Roman – who is also known as St. Anastasia Pharmakolytria, Deliverer from Spells and Potions – was an extraordinary follower of Christ and was affluent of the medical arts of her time. Long story short, she was incredibly brave and courageous. St. Anastasia healed many Christians, traveling to heal the poor and those imprisoned. As someone who would like to heal people through food and natural medicine, she is an inspiration in my life. This sounds more worthy of celebrating than my birthday.
I asked my spiritual father, “What does celebrating one’s saints day entail?”. First off, it is not like a birthday where one receives gifts but rather in reverse. The person, whose saints day it is, hosts and provides food and there is a big celebration. Unfortunately, this could not be the case this year for obvious reasons but I had a lovely coffee time and chocolates with my spiritual father…and gifted him a delicious homemade minestrone soup. 2 checks off the list. If I had a large celebration… I would have made this roast which I am about to tell you all about.
I made Gaz Oakley’s ‘Ultimate Christmas Roast’ for the New Calendar Christmas (my husband and I follow both the Julian calendar and Gregorian calendar but we celebrate both Christmas’. We are 13 days behind in the Julian calendar.) With this said, we are celebrating Christmas Eve on Wednesday, and the Nativity on Thursday. I could have decided to make a different roast but this was so delicious and worked so well, I am making Gaz Oakley’s Wellington AGAIN! Between my husband and I, we managed to finish it in about a week, having a slice with a side of kapusta (cabbage) or potatoes with cranberry sauce (another recipe I followed by Gaz Oakley). This is a roast I could eat again and again (and again!).
Don’t get feel intimidated by the steps (like I was at first). This is a really easy recipe to put together, it just takes some time and planning.
These are Gaz’s words about the roast: “This is Christmas, all wrapped up…literally! The Christmassy flavors we all love are in this roast “beef” Wellington. It’s so succulent and flavorsome.” (Yeah it is!)
As you already know, this is not my recipe but if you need a recipe idea for Christmas, *hint hint SAINT’S DAY, especially if your saint’s day happens to be on a strict fasting day*, birthday, picnic, (or, let’s be real, an indulgent roast on a Tuesday night because you just fancy yourself a roast!), this should be a go-to. Enough chatting & let’s get down to cooking business! (FYI, you can make this ahead of time!)
Serves 6 Cooks in 150 minutes Difficulty 7/10
For the “Beef”
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of allspice
pinch of paprika
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tbsp dried sage
2 tsp dried rosemary
30 g (1/4 cup) dried cranberries
50 g (1/2 cup) dried apricots
100 g (1cup) peeled and cooked chestnuts
240 mL (1 cup) cider, from a 500 mL (2 cup) bottle
240 mL (1 cup) vegetable stock
1 tbsp miso paste
250 g (2 1/4 cups) vital wheat gluten
3 tbsp chickpea (gram) flour
For the SPICE RUB
1 tsp cayenne (or less if you don’t like spicy)
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried tarragon
remaining 260 mL (1 cup) cider
500 mL (2 cups) vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
handful of fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs
1 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp balsamic vinegear
4 tbsp Cranberry and orange sauce (from Gaz Oakley’s book), or your own homemade cranberry sauce
320 g (11 1/4 oz) block ready-made vegan puff pastry
FOR THE GLAZE
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp non-dairy milk
4 tbsp vegetable oil
FOR THE GRAVY
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
4 tbsp water
Make the “meat” dough. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion, leek, garlic, seasoning, spices and herbs for 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile put the cranberries, apricots and chestnuts into a blender and blitz until they’re all a similar size. add these to the frying pan and sauce for 3-4 minutes until everything has softened. Pour in the cider, stock and miso paste. Stir together and allow the mixture to simmer for 2 minutes before turning the heat off.
Combine the dry ingredients. Once the wet mixture has cooled slightly, mix with the dry ingredients. It should form a nice dough. If your mix is wet add a little more chickpea flour. Tip the dough out onto a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes. Leave to rest.
Preheat your oven to 170 C (340 F). Combine the rub spices in a bowl. Shape the dough into a sausage 10 cm (4 in) diameter. Sprinkle the rub on your work surface. Roll the dough in the rub.
Roll the dough in a piece of muslin (cheesecloth), twist the ends tightly, then tie each end with cook’s string to secure it. Place the wrapped dough into a deep baking tray together with the rest of the roasting ingredients and bake for 2 hours on the bottom shelf, turning over halfway through to ensure it cooks evenly. Once baked, life the roast out of the tray, reserving the roasting liquid, leave to cool slightly, then remove the muslin. At this point you can either chill it in the fridge for up to 3 days or continue. If you are not cooking now, make the gravy (below) and keep it in the fridge, then reheat.
An hour before you want to serve, roll out your pastry into a tea towel-sized rectangle around 3mm (1/8 inch) thick. Cut strips a third of the width of the pastry on each side, so you can cross them to make a lattice. Spread the cranberry and orange sauce the roast, lift it into the centre of pastry, wrap it up, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Combine the glaze ingredients in a bowl, then brush over the top of the pastry. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.
While the Wellington is cooking, strain the roasting liquid from the baking tray through a sieve into a saucepan, pressing to squeeze out all the lovely juices. Place over a low heat and simmer for 10 minutes until you have a thick gravy. Mix the cornflour with the water and add it to the gravy whilst whisking until it thickens to your desired consistency. Remove the Wellington from the oven, carve and serve with the rich gravy.
- I made Gaz’s cranberry sauce while letting the Wellington “rest”.
- Allow the roast cool before combining it with the dry ingredients. I did not give it enough time to cool down and it was very hot to combine. Give it about 15 minutes or so to cool before adding the dry ingredients.
- When I first made this, I did not have an orange; I substituted with some orange juice.
“Vegan Christmas: Over 70 Amazing Recipes for the Festive Season by Avant-Garde Vegan”, Gaz Oakley
I take no ownership over this recipe. This recipe is an original by Gaz Oakley. Thank you Gaz for sharing this amazing recipe to the world! I will be making this time and time again!!!
Just a few more of my favorite icons of St. Anastasia Pharmakolytria