Thursday, January 19, 2012

GPAC Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington. Goodness, I've wanted to make this since before Piglet was born. Piglet is 6 years old. I remember looking at recipes and pouring over recipes. I love mushrooms, beef, puff pastry. I just never got around to making this because-
1. There are 3 of us that like mushrooms, 2 that don't (more on that later.)
2. Paté, 4 of us who either love or will eat it. One of us that won't eat it at all.
3. Cooking any steaks is hit or miss for me. I like rare to medium rare. My two youngest girls like medium rare. My oldest likes medium well, and my husband likes well done. The odds are always against me. That's why my husband does the steak around here, he's good at it.

Then came the email for the HouseHold 6 cooking club post! I didn't think twice about what to make. Beef Wellington. Without the mustard. Light on mushrooms on two of them, because my younger girls don't like mushrooms. Our rule in this house is that you eat a couple of bites of everything in case your taste buds have changed, but I'm not going to pile on mushrooms if you don't like them. This works well for us, the girls are pretty good at eating what we put in front of them. My only real exceptions are organ meats, bugs, and delicacies like balut. And sushi too. But, my kids eat all of those things. That being said I also made one of the Wellingtons without paté, because DH won't eat it. But I didn't mind all these changes because it was dish that was once in a while meal. Usually though, I'm not a short order cook. :)
Here is this months challenge:
Prepare a dish that you have never made before but always wanted to try.  Tell us why you have taken quite some time to make this dish.

So how did it turn out? My two youngest girls ate the mushrooms, all of them, didn't even stop to ask if they were mushrooms. Everyone ate and liked the dish. DH, Diva and I love mushrooms so we ate ours. DH said his fillet was cooked like he liked it, the rest turned out perfect too. Actually, I could have had mine a little more rare but it was a medium rare. Usually I under cook DH's steaks. The thing is, it's work to cook everybody's steak different already. Then when you wrap it up in the oven it's harder for me.
The best part is that this is SO easy to make, it just takes time. It's not a weeknight meal, but it's easy. The mushroom duxelles can be prepared the night before and the filets can be browned beforehand also. So all you have to do is wrap and bake the Wellingtons. Perfect for entertaining on special occasions.
I read several recipes online for these, even the recipe at Pepperidge Farms. Some called for prosciutto wrapped filets- Tyler Florence's "Ultimate Beef Wellington", some called for mustard, some called for foie gras (Emeril, I don't have your salary), paté, some none. Some recipes had sauces you could make to serve with the Beef Wellington. It was kind of overwhelming. I decided I would just take those recipes and use their methods.
I used individual filets instead of a whole one because that's what I could find. A whole filet/tenderloin would work beautifully, everyone just gets less of the puff pastry and you have to bake it longer. I chose ghee to brown the filets because I love the flavor of ghee. You can use butter or olive oil. I used a combination of baby portobella mushrooms and button mushrooms. I thought I had a package of King Oysters in the fridge but I couldn't find them. I wanted to use them. I did not add shallots or onions to the mushrooms either. One thing I may do next time is squeeze the liquid out of the mushrooms after cooking to make sure they are extra dry. My Beef Wellingtons weren't soggy but any more liquid and they would have been. To roll out the puff pastry, I used two sheets of parchment paper, like I did here. I love this method because I don't have to worry about such a mess. That, and I have 1000 sheets of parchment :). No, really I do from my Love Abounds days.


GPAC Beef Wellington
Filets
10 minutes to cook filets, 1 -24 hours to chill. I browned mine a few hours ahead of time and let them chill.
4-5 beef filets about 1 and 1/2 inch thick
Salt and pepper
Ghee or extra virgin olive oil
Mushroom Duxelles
Make and chill these when you prepare the filets.
 3 packages of mushrooms (8 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or more if using fresh-leaves only)
1-2 cloves of garlic minced
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, ghee or butter
 To wrap and finish the dish
2 ounces of Paté- optional
2 packages of Pepperidge Farms sheets of puff pastry
Flour for rolling out pastry
1 large egg, whisked with a little water for an egg wash
 Filets- Trim fat from filets as needed. Tie each filet so that it is round. This will help it cook evenly.
Salt and pepper on all sides. Heat a sauce pan with ghee or olive oil. Sear the meat on all sides. Just until browned.
 Remove from pan. Wrap filets in foil and put them in the refrigerator to chill.

Duxelles 
Clean the mushrooms, in a food processor process the mushrooms until finely chopped. Do this in batches.
In the same pan with all the browned goodness from the fillets add 1 tablespoon of butter, ghee or olive oil. Add the mushrooms, thyme and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and dry. Dry is important here if you don't want soggy puff pastry. EW. Season with salt and pepper. Let this cool.
 To wrap the filets, take off the butchers twine. Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator 15 minutes before you are going to use it. It should be fully thawed. I did have one piece of puff pastry that was torn, no biggie, I just patched it up at the seam and rolled it out and it was fine.
1. Place one filet in the center of a rolled out pastry sheet. (Just roll it out to where it will fold onto the filet evenly.)

2. Spread paté on the puff pastry. Top with duxelles, one filet then more paté and duxelles on top. Leave room to seal the pastry. *Notes on wrapping a whole filet are at the end of the post.
3. Cut four squares out of the puff pastry, to form a cross. Make sure the strips of pastry that are left over are wide enough to cover the filets.
4. Fold the pastry one strip at a time over the filet and filing. Brush the strips with egg wash so they seal.
5. Once the filling is enclosed in the pastry check for any tears and patch them up by pinching the pastry closed. Use egg wash if needed.
6. Turn the Beef Wellington's over, seam side down. Add any scraps of pastry you have on top to decorate. Egg wash helps keep this all in place too.  7. Place them on a dry cookie sheet in the refrigerator. Don't cover them. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.


8. Once the oven is preheated brush egg wash over the tops of the pastry. Cut slits on top of each one to let steam escape.
9. Bake on a parchment lined jelly roll pan/baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Check to see if the pastry is getting over browned. If it is place a sheet of foil on top of them. Do not seal the edges.




10. Use a meat thermometer to make sure your filets are cooked to your liking. Cook until the pastry is golden brown and the filets are done. (I cooked mine for about 10 minutes more.)
11. Let the Beef Wellington's rest for 5-10 minutes  while keeping warm before serving.
Aren't they pretty? I'm so pleased with how they turned out!



I served these with roasted broccoli and roasted Brussel sprouts, but that's a whole other post. These were big, so the younger girls shared one and Diva and I shared one. We had leftovers, which I heated in the oven... for breakfast. No lie.


 * These two pieces only have paté on the bottom. I didn't have six sheets of puff pastry so I didn't want these too thick. Especially since it was for my younger girls. I just this piece of pastry in half, folded the ends over the filet and mushrooms.







Notes
* I was able to wrap the smaller filets, 2 filets per sheet of puff pastry. The bigger thicker filets I used one sheet of puff pastry per filet.
*  If you are doing a whole filet spread the paté on the pastry, leaving room on the edges to seal it. Top with the duxelles, roll up the pastry. Pinch to seal the edges, use the egg wash to help with that.
* This dish takes time to make, so plan accordingly. The filets need to be chilled after browning so that they don't over cook in the oven later. 
* A food processor helps with the mushrooms, to get them finely chopped. You can chop them by hand though.
*You need butchers twine to tie up the filets if they aren't round, they cook more evenly when tied also.



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