• The Native Foods Spring Wellington: Food Fit for a Duke

    March 29th, 2010mr meanerLA restaurants, native foods

    In 1796, the 1st Duke of Wellington set off from his native England to the Martha Empire, a Hindu state in what is now known as India. Sadly, his mission was not an honorable one as he was there to overpower the local resistance. Upon hearing, however, that the native Hindus held the cow as a sacred animal and therefore don’t eat beef, he asked for his food supplies to be wrapped carefully in dough such that they “could be easily transported and enjoyed in their entire splendour without offending the local indigenous”.

    This ingenious combination of stealth, convenience and taste created the now-centuries-old tradition of his name-sake “Wellington”: A veritable cornucopia of foodstuffs wrapped tightly in crispy pastry giving way to a highly portable, easy to cook and VERY tasty meal.

    Fast forward a couple of centuries to Southern California, circa 2010, and one of our favorite vegan restaurants, Native Foods, has a completely unique and interesting take on the Wellington: The Spring Wellington, a dish that I’m sure the 1st Duke would have reveled in while he was busy fighting wars and all.

    Spring Wellington (serves 8): puff-pastry filled with fresh asparagus, garlic-roasted mashed potatoes, carrots, Native Seitan, caramelized shallots, green peas, organic kale and portabello mushrooms, served with a lemon tarragon hollandaise sauce. $39.95

    Chef Tanya and her team have really excelled themselves this time around, creating an absolutely scrumptious dish that bakes in under an hour, feeds an army of eight people and has a list of ingredients that reads like a massive main course menu:

    Puff-pastry, seitan, fresh asparagus, garlic-roasted mashed potatoes, carrots, caramelized shallots, green peas, organic kale and portabello mushrooms.

    There’s also a generous tub of lemon tarragon hollandaise sauce which you can pour over the Wellington when serving. It’s rare that something so tasty can be prepared so easy: You put it in the oven for 50 minutes, slice and serve – that’s it!

    We also prepared some steamed broccoli, cauliflower and mashed potatoes for the side, but it really didn’t need any adornment. The Wellington would be perfectly fine as a meal in itself, or eight meals actually.

    The front line of pastry shell was perfectly puffed, yet thick and crumbly in texture – it held together while being machete sliced, yet wasn’t too crispy to melt in one’s mouth.

    Inside there was a taste assault, led by the incredible “how do they do that?” Native’s Seitan slices with perfectly seasoned vegetables coming up the rear in a pincer movement of attack with legions of diced carrots, portabello mushrooms gunning for the velvety roasted garlic mashed potatoes.

    The splish splosh of hollandaise sauce (a little sweet for my taste, frankly) added an aura of je ne sais quoi, moistening the whole damn thing and making it very, very edible (such that eight generous servings could easily turn into four: you have been warned!).

    With spring giving way to summer, and the various religious holidays that abound at this time, a Spring Wellington is a superb investment if you’re entertaining friends or family. At only $40, it gives eight full-size servings and you really don’t need anything on the side, so you can’t really go wrong.

    The 6′ 8″ foot tall duke is matched only in stature by the absolutely MASSIVE Spring Wellington: enemy armies would retreat at its very sight, and vegans everywhere would claim victory.

    See this picture with an iPhone for reference.

    I don’t like talking about war, but I guess one of the ingredients says it all: Give Peas a Chance.

    I implore you all to order a Native Foods Spring Wellington TODAY. They will be available for sure through Sunday, April 4th…and beyond that, supplies are limited. So call and get your Wellington NOW!

    Wellys are available at all Native Foods restaurants, so check out their website for a location near you.

    The Duke of Wellington would approve. 😀

    Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

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