Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter - Playing with Puff Pastry

Happy Easter!

What am I going to make for dinner?
I wanted to try something different, unique and special.

I've decided to do Beef Wellington.
Beef Wellington is a beef tenderloin, layered with sauteed mushrooms (the fancy name is mushroom duxelles), pate and wrapped in puff pastry.

I enjoy watching reality cooking shows and one common dish seen on Gordon Ramsay's show is Beef Wellington.

Gordon Ramsay making Beef Wellington

I've had Salmon en Croute, salmon in puff pastry, but not Beef Wellington. My curiosity has motivated me to try making the dish, but on a smaller scale.

My version of Beef Wellington Steak

1 beef Filet Mignon about 1.5 inches thick - 6 to 8 ounces
Salt and Pepper

8 ounces of mushrooms, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped (about the size of a 1/4 onion)
2 pinches thyme
Salt and pepper

2 slices Prosciutto.
My original goal was to make the Beef Wellington with pate, but pate is difficult to find so I used Ramsay's video as a guide.

1 Sheet Puff Pastry

Step 1.
Salt and pepper the steak

Step 2:
Chop the mushrooms and shallot

Step 3:
Brown the steak on both sides about 2 minutes per side. The main reason for browning is to develop some flavor. Note that the steak is not thoroughly cooked. Afterwards, the steak was placed in the refrigerator to cool down.

Step 4:
While the steak is cooling down, the mushrooms were sauteed with a little oil and butter. Salt and pepper plus the thyme was added at this time. The head was medium-low. We're sweating the mixture and drying it out, not browning. Also, looking at many recipes for mushroom duxelle some call for red wine/Madeira while others called for cream.

The mixture after cooking. The taste is nice. A little red wine in the saute would have been nice too.

Step 5:
The prosciutto and mushroom mixture are laid out on plastic wrap.

Step 6:
The cooled steak is wrapped with the ham and mushroom mixture. Again refrigerated to ensure the product is cool

Step 7:
Setting up the steak on the puff pastry

Step 8:
Trimming the puff pastry leaving about 1" overlap.
The puff pastry was unwrapped and a little egg wash was brushed along the edges to help glue the edges together.

Step 9:
Wrapped like a Christmas present (I'm terrible at wrapping) and ready for baking.

Step 10:
Baked 425F for about 25 minutes.
The Wellington was allowed to rest on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Cut in half... The beef filet is cooked to medium. Just the way I like it. I lucked out. :-)

The Final Dish
The steak is enough for two.
Served with smashed red potatoes infused with garlic and horseradish with a couple spoonfuls of beef jus. The cabbage is steamed and lightly sauteed and topped fried prosciutto.

Overall the dish was nice.
The puff pastry will become soggy if allowed to rest too long which this dish was on the verge. I've read on different websites that you can put a layer of bread or a pancake between the puff pastry and the meat mixture. This would seem like too much breading for my liking.

The prosciutto I used turned out to be smoked which overpowered some mushroom mixture.

The mushroom mixture was good. A splash of red wine would have improved it especially when served with beef.

Would I order this dish in a restaurant?
Probably not. I like the steak to be simple with a good sauce. Although a sauce can be made for this dish, it just seems that the sauce would want to ruin the puff pastry.

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