Sunday, January 1, 2012

Beef Wellington

Happy New Year!  Last night I spent the evening with my close friends Sandi and Chris, along with two other couples. Chris had given me a challenge to make a beef wellington for dinner.  This of course was a challenge for a couple of reasons.  One being that I haven't cooked beef in well over a year. Another is that this dish is one that Food Network challengers always mess up...meat is too well done, too under cooked, pastry too soggy, etc. Lots of things that could go wrong. Of course, I welcomed the challenge, especially one that make me imagine that I'm being scolded by Chef Ramsey.  Thankfully, while I'm sure Ramsey would be dropping the F bomb all over my kitchen, it turned out incredible!  Woohoo!  It did take a few hours to prep and cook, but it was well worth it.

Center cut beef tenderloin, trimmed of fat, tied into a long roll
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Duxelle (mushrooms):
3 containers of assorted mushrooms (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 cloves garlic
1 shallot, peeled
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

12 slices prosciutto
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 packages puff pastry, thawed
1 egg beaten with a tablespoon water
Chives, chopped for garnish

Green Peppercorn Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallots, sliced large
3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup brandy
1 box beef stock, no sodium added
2 cups cream
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 tablespoon green peppercorns
Salt to taste

Heat a medium skillet under medium high heat. Add the butter and oil to the pan. Meanwhile, in a food processor, mince the garlic, shallots, garlic, and thyme. Cook until dry (about 10-12 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a large pan, heat until hot. Meanwhile, coat the beef with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear the meat on all sides (only sear, do not cook for long). Allow to sit for ten minutes.
On a large cutting board (or flat surface), place a large piece of plastic wrap. Lay the prosciutto flat on the plastic wrap so you can wrap the meat in it. Spread the entire mushroom mixture on top of the prosciutto.
Brush the meat with mustard and place on top of the mushroom mixture. Wrap with the meat with the prosciutto. Wrap tightly and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll of out the puff pastry in a large rectangle, enough to be able to wrap the meat completely. 
Remove the plastic wrap from the meat and place it in the middle of the pastry.  Brush the corners of the pastry with the egg wash. Fold the pastry around the meat and seal well. Brush entire pastry surface with egg wash. Make large slits in the top of the pastry (down to the prosciutto). Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Place on a baking pan.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cook the meat until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the green peppercorn sauce.
Heat olive oil to a medium saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme to the pan. Cook for two minutes and then add the brandy. Light with a long kitchen match. Allow to burn. Reduce to half. Add the beef stock and reduce to half. Strain out the solids. Add the cream and the peppercorn. Reduce by half. Season to taste with salt. Serve with meat.

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