by Miyoko Schinner
Watch this recipe being made on Delicious TV’s Vegan Mashup.
Creamy, roasted winter veggies all dressed up in a playful, sculptured “bird” form make a presentation that’s guaranteed to wow your guests. And it’s yummy to boot!
Roast the vegetables:
3 cups peeled and large-diced butternut squash
3 cups brussels sprouts, cut in half
3 cups mushrooms, cut in half
1 delicata squash, cut in half, seeds removed, and sliced
2 cups sliced fennel
3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the vegetables in one layer on a baking sheet or cookie pan, using as many pans as necessary so they are not piled up. It is best to bake each of the vegetables on separate pans, as cooking times may differ, but if you need to combine them, cook the squashes and brussel sprouts together, and the mushrooms and fennel together (as they have similar cooking times). Sprinkle the veggies with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, and toss to mix thoroughly. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes until they are beautifully browned. Transfer the roasted vegetables to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, prepare the white wine sauce:
1 tablespoon oil
½ cup minced shallots
1 ½ cups dry white wine
½ cup raw cashews
1 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon each minced fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the shallots and saute over low heat until translucent. Add the wine, turn up the heat to medium high, and simmer for about 10 minutes until reduced by two-thirds to concentrate the flavor. Make the cashew cream: combine the cashews and water in a blender and process until creamy (if you are not using a high-speed blender, it is best to soak the cashews in water for 3 – 8 hours to soften them a bit. Drain and discard the soaking liquid). Add the cashew cream to the wine-shallot mixture in the saucepan, and over medium heat, cook until thick, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Add the herbs, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another minute. Pour the sauce over the vegetables in the bowl and mix well to combine.
Assemble the UnBird:
The vegetable-sauce mixture above
8 ounces filo dough, thawed according to package instructions
Non-stick spray or olive oil for brushing
1 crookneck squash for “neck and head” of UnBird
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the filo dough on a clean, dry towel. Put one sheet on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray the filo sheet with non-stick spray, or brush lightly with olive oil. Place another sheet of filo on top, and spray with non-stick spray or brush with oil. Repeat with another 4 – 5 sheets of filo, for a total of 6 – 7 sheets of filo. Put the vegetable-sauce filling in the middle of the filo and pile it up as high as you can. Fold both sides of the filo sheets over the vegetables to encase it completely. Hold both sides of the unbird and try to squeeze it up higher to replicate the shape of a bird. Close up one end by pinching the filo together. Leave the other end slightly open. Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown.
Meanwhile, make the tail feathers and wings from the remaining filo. Stack 5 – 6 layers of filo, spraying with non-stick spray or brushing with oil, between every layer. Using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors, cut through the stack to form two sets of wings about 6-inches long. Cut an isoscoles triangle with a wide base from one corner of the filo, then cut “feathers” by cutting slits down two sides of the triangle. Place the wings and tail feathers carefully on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until browned (they cook faster than the body of the UnBird).
When the Unbird is ready, transfer very carefully to a serving platter. Lean the wings up along the sides, and the tail feathers along the closed end of the bird. Stick the crookneck squash into the slightly opened end of the bird to form a neck and head. Serve immediately.