Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Romantic Beef Wellington for Two

I have to admit, I have always wanted to make Beef Wellington. I had never even tried it before, but it is one of those dishes that always looked so glamorous. I was excited when my friend Mz Kitchen of Madame Chow's Kitchen presented us with this awesome recipe to play with this month at Recipes to Rival.
I made a mini welly, with a piece of beef tenderloin just big enough for hubby and I to enjoy. I used the recipe as it is, omitting the pate (I thought it already had lots of great flavours going on) and scaling it down to make this cute little Beef Wellington for two. I just cut it in half to serve it.
This kept the price down for us and allowed us to enjoy this gorgeous treat. I am happy to announce, Cathy, that this is now hubby's new favourite dish! It was so over the top decadent and delicious, it felt like such a treat. But scaling it down the way we did, it cost less than ordering in a pizza. See, romance is not the prerogative of the very wealthy!

Beef Wellington - recipe from Mz Kitchen of Madame Chow's Kitchen
For the Duxelles:
3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Beef:
1 (3-pound) center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
1 pound puff pastry, thawed if using frozen (follow directions on the package)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 ounces mousse pate, available in specialty cheese and appetizer cases of larger markets (optional)
To make the Duxelles:
Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add butter and olive oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool completely.
To prepare the Beef:
Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking.
Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil - about 2 to 3 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles.
Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard.
Allow to cool completely.
I made the duxelles and seared the tenderloin about 10 hours in advance, and refrigerated both of them. It is important that these items are cold because you will be working with puff pastry, and if they're warm, they may cause the dough to melt before you get it in the oven.
This was very good advice - I seared the beef the night before and cooked it from cold - it helped the small piece not over-cook.
About an hour before you plan to serve the Beef Wellington, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness.
Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. Spread the duxelles mixture down in a column down the middle of the rolled out puff pastry. Thinly slice the mousse and cover the duxelles with it - every square millimeter doesn't have to be covered, but you're trying to make sure that every serving gets beef, duxelle, and mousse.
Remove beef from refrigerator.
Set the beef in the center of the pastry and brush all the edges of the pastry with egg wash.
Fold the longer sides over the beef, and seal.
Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef - saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired.
Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.
Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife - this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F (rare) on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove from oven and rest before cutting into 3/4-inch thick slices