Another of the Daring Kitchen challenges that sent me out preparing a meal which would otherwise never make it to our table. Well, I have made Empanadas, or meat pies, but this is a few steps more complicated.
The first part of the job is to prepare crepes. Luckily, something I do on a regular basis. One of my very favorite breakfasts. And there are usually some left. Perfect for this dish. So, Sunday morning crepes and Beef Wellington for dinner. I don't think my husband realizes just how lucky he is.
Which actually makes that the second part of the job, being as I decided to make the mushroom duxelles a day ahead. The pureed, cooked mushrooms and shallots are combined with liver pate to spread on the crepes, then wrapped around the beef, which is finally enclosed in puff pastry. A number of steps, better broken into 2 days. Though since Bob despises liver in any form, I substituted olive paste. A good option if you don't care for the taste of liver.
I am going to present the recipe as it was given, with notes for serving individually, just in case you are inspired to go ahead and make some yourself.
Classic Beef WellingtonFrom Daring Cooks
For the duxelles
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable or sunflower oil
1/4 cup (60 m) (25 gm) (¾ oz) finely chopped shallots
1-1/2 cups (360 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz) finely chopped Portobello mushrooms (from 4 large caps; remove the stems and gills before chopping, preferably in a food processor)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (1 gm) finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Heat the butter and oil in a 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over low heat.
2. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms, stir well, and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have cooked down to a thick, almost black mixture, about 15 minutes.
4. Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
5. Stir in the parsley; then transfer to a small bowl and cool completely. (The duxelles can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.)
For the crêpes
1/2 cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2-1/2 oz) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour
1/8 teaspoons (½ gm) kosher salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (180 ml) whole milk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) unsalted butter
1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Make a well in the center, break in the eggs, and add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the milk.
2. Gently whisk the eggs and milk, gradually incorporating the flour.
3. Slowly whisk in the remaining milk to make a smooth batter. (The batter can be covered and set aside for up to an hour at this point.)
Melt the butter in a 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over medium-low heat. Swirl the pan to coat with the butter; pour the excess butter out into a small bowl.
4. Whisk 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (½ oz) (15 gm) of the melted butter into the batter. Reserve the rest for greasing the pan between crêpes.
5. Increase the heat to medium high and pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the batter into the skillet. Swirl so the batter thinly and evenly coats the base of the pan.
6. Cook until the crêpe is spotted with brown on the underside, about 1 minute, then flip and cook the other side until lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
7. Repeat with the remaining batter, greasing the pan off the heat as necessary.
8. Transfer the crêpes to a plate, separating them with sheets of parchment, and cool. You’ll need about 4 crêpes.
3 pounds (1-1/3 kg) center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed, side muscle removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable or sunflower oil
2/3 cup (180 ml) chicken liver pâté, homemade or store-bought
1 pound (½ kg) puff pastry, homemade or store-bought, thawed overnight in the refrigerator if frozen
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) unsalted butter, softened
1. Remove the beef from the refrigerator about an hour ahead so it has time to lose its chill. Pat the beef dry and season all over with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch (30 cm skillet over high heat until very hot. Sear the beef until it is evenly browned all over (don’t worry about the ends), 2 to 3 minutes per side.
3. Transfer the beef to a baking sheet and cool.
4. In a medium bowl, mash the pâté and the duxelles with a fork until they form a soft paste.
5. Lay 4 crêpes on a clean work surface, overlapping them just enough to give you a 13x13-inch (33x 33 cm) roughly square surface. (For mini-Wellingtons, use 1 crepe per serving).
Dot the pâté mixture over the crêpes, then use an offset spatula to spread it evenly across the crêpes’ surface.
6. Place the tenderloin in the center of the crêpes and carefully wrap them around the filet, pressing and molding them into place. Trim off any excess crêpe at the ends.
7. If using store-bought puff pastry that’s packaged as 2 sheets, fuse the sheets together by slightly overlapping them and lightly rolling over the seam until adhered. (If making individual servings, cut each pastry sheet into quarters and proceed.)
8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to a 13x16-inch (33x40 cm) rectangle (for store-bought puff, roll in the direction of the seam).
9. Transfer the wrapped beef to the center of the pastry and tuck any crêpes that have come loose back into place. Bring the pastry up around the beef, smoothing out any air pockets.
10. Brush some of the beaten egg along the bottom edge of the seam and then press gently to seal; trim off any excess. Seal the pastry similarly at the ends.
11. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with the butter. Lift the Wellington onto the sheet, seam side down. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 3 hours. (If refrigerating longer than 1 hour, let the Wellington sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.)
12. At least 20 minutes before baking, heat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9 and position a rack in the center of the oven. Brush the Wellington with the remaining beaten egg.
13. Using a sharp knife, score the surface of the pastry with diagonal lines, being careful not to cut all the way through the pastry.
14. Put the Wellington in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to hot 425°F/220C/gas mark 7. Roast for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the Wellington registers 135°F/57°C for medium rare, 20 to 25 minutes. **
15. Transfer to a carving board and let the Wellington rest for 10 minutes.
** For individual servings arrange your Wellingtons on a baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Plate the beef Wellingtons individually. Just a bit of fresh salad on the side is all you'll nee.
These are a treat. If you're ever in the mood to really impress someone, or just want to be decadent all to yourselves, this is definitely the way to go. Absolutely and truly delicious.