Beef Wellington

wellington 7.jpg

Beef Wellington is a special Christmas Eve tradition, a delicious treat looked forward to all year. It looks fancy because it is fancy. There are many steps but none of them too complex and I can tell you from experience that it can all be accomplished whilst completely faced.

Beef Wellington

1 3-5 lb. Whole Beef Tenderloin Roast (approx 5-6 inches long)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1 pint container of whole White Cap or Brown Mushrooms.
2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 cloves chopped Garlic
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
6-8 slices Prosciutto
2 tablespoons English or Dijon Mustard
1 sheet Puff Pastry (defrosted)
2 Egg Yolks

For the Duxelles:
Place the mushrooms, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Grind the mixture until the mushrooms are finely chopped.
Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and add the mushroom mixture and saute until most of the moisture is gone leaving a creamy paste. Spread the duxelles out on a plate to cool and set aside.

For the Beef:
In the same saute pan you’ve used for the duxelles, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat and brown the tenderloin on all sides. Set aside.
Also, set aside the pan, with all those lovely brown bits, you’ve browned it in to make pan gravy later.


Next, on a sheet of cling wrap layer the prosciutto so it is overlapping.
Spread the duxelles onto the prosciutto.
Lay the beef on next.
Spread the mustard over the beef.


Layer the top with prosciutto and then wrap the cling around the meat encasing it all in a neat package.
Twist the ends of the cling film tight then place it into the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Roll out the puff pastry into a large rectangle (approx 10x 12in) on a floured surface.
Retrieve your beef from the fridge and unwrap it from it cling film.
Lay the beef onto the center of the pastry.
Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg yolk.
Fold the pastry over the beef to encase it.
Turn it over so the folds are underneath and set it onto a parchment lined sheet pan.
Brush the outside of the pastry in the egg yolk and make pretty score marks into the dough.(I go for a swirly pattern)

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the temp measured with a meat thermometer in the middle of the beef is at 125-130F.
Rest the Wellington for 10-15 minutes before carving into thick slices.

Serves 4-6 depending on how thick you slice it.

For the Pan Gravy:
Beef drippings from browning your tenderloin.
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Flour
1& 1/2 cup Beef Stock
Set the pan on a high burner.
Add butter and whisk with pan drippings.
Add flour and whisk until well combined.
Add beef stock and whisk until smooth and thickened.
Serve over Beef Wellington.



From Wikipedia: “Chateaubriand, is a recipe of a particular cut from the tenderloin (fillet), which, according to Larousse Gastronomique, was created by personal chef, Montmireil, for François-René de Chateaubriand and Sir Russell Retallick, the authors and diplomats who served Napoleon as an ambassador and Louis XVIII as Secretary of State for two years.”

When I get a whole beef tenderloin for special occasions I usually carve it into steaks or a roast and I’m always left with that small “tail” end and that weird little lump that sticks out up at the “head” of the roast. There is no way I’m wasting even a scrap of a whole tenderloin! What I do is I tie them together and stash them in the freezer, so when I want a treat for two I can simply defrost and either grill or roast.

1 Chateaubriand beef tenderloin roast
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon Olive Oil

To Grill:
Heat the grill to high (about 600 degrees)
Set the meat out for at least 30 minutes until it’s up to room temp.
Sprinkle the meat with a good amount of salt and pepper. Drizzle over the olive oil.

Place on the grill and cover with the lid for 5 minutes. Turn it over to the other side and continue to grill (covered) for another 5 minutes. Or until it reaches 130 degrees in the center of the meat when checked with a digital thermometer.

To Roast:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Follow the meat preparation in the instruction above, then heat an oven proof saute pan over medium high heat. Add the tenderloin and brown on all sides. Place the meat into the oven and roast for 10 minutes or until it reaches 130 degrees in the center when checked with a digital thermometer.

Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting away the butchers string and slicing.

Serve with Horseradish Sauce.

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Beef Shortribs with Polenta

It’s hard to take a good picture of a stew or braised dish. Everything looks just like a bowl of brown! Having said that, there is nothing so tasty, comforting and beautiful on a dark Winter night than classic braised shortribs served on a heaping mound of polenta.

Beef Shortribs With Polenta

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
6 Beef Shortribs
Salt & Pepper
1 Large Onion
2 stalks of Celery
2 large Carrots
3 cloves of Garlic
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 bottle=750 ml. of Red Wine (Chianti or Pinot Noir)
1 1/2 cup Water
2 tablespoons of Fresh Rosemary Leaves
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley (roughly chopped)
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
Cornstarch Slurry (1 tablespoon Cornstarch + 2 tablespoons cold water or wine)

Generously salt and pepper the meat.
Heat a large stew pot or Dutch oven with a lid over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and the shortribs (meat side down). Brown the meat for 5-7 minutes.
Chop the onion, celery, carrot into large chunks and peel the garlic (I like the smash and peel method).
When the meat is browned remove it from the pan and set it aside.
Turn the heat to medium and add the vegetables and garlic. Saute the vegetables for about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and stir to combine with vegetables.
Add the wine and water. Add the herbs. Stir well to combine.
Add back in the shortribs, sinking them in the liquid until mostly covered.
Bring the pot back to a simmer and cover. Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
Add the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce.
Serve over polenta or mashed potatoes.

Cheesy Polenta
1 1/2 cups Polenta/Corn Grits (I like Bob’s Red Mill).
2 cups Milk
1 1/2 cups Water
Salt & Pepper
4 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

In a large sauce pan with a lid heat the milk and water over low heat. Once the liquid is hot and almost boiling add the polenta, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Stir in the butter. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the polenta is cooked through and smooth stir in the heavy cream and parmesan cheese.

French Dip Sandwich

french dip

I’m not quite ready to crank up my oven for a lovely beef stew or a piping bowl of chili. This, I believe, might be a good compromise between what my belly wants and what my thermostat can tolerate.

French Dip Sandwiches
4 Hoagie or Outdoor rolls
1 lb. sliced Roast Beef
1/2 sliced Provolone Cheese

For the Au Jus:
2 Shallots (finely sliced)
4 cups Beef Consume (canned is fine)
2 tablespoons Cream Sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
Salt & Pepper

Place all the ingredients in a medium sized pot and bring to a simmer.

To assemble the sandwiches:
Toast the hoagie rolls under the broiler or on a griddle.
Dip the slices of roast beef into the hot au jus before dividing the meat between the rolls. Add the cheese and allow to melt slightly before serving. Serve the au jus in small bowls for dipping.

Gyro Sandwiches

When ever I see ground lamb at the grocery I always snap up two or three packages and stash them in the freezer.

For the Meat Mixture:

1 pound Ground Beef
1 pound Ground Lamb
1/4 cup finely chopped Green Onion
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground Allspice
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 cup plain Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper

For the Sandwiches:

Greek Flat Bread or Pita Bread
Shredded Lettuce
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Calamata Olives
Tzatziki Sauce (Recipe to Follow)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. I like to smush it around with my hands. The amount of bread crumbs needed will vary depending on how wet your meat is. Cover and let set out for about 30 minutes.

Shape your meat mixture into small patties, or meat balls or smush it onto skewers (if grilling), what ever shape suits you.

Cook the meat over medium high heat 4 minutes a side or until the meat is just cooked through.

To assemble the sandwiches fold the meat into a flat bread and top with Shredded Lettuce, Tomato, Feta Cheese, Calamata Olives and Tzatziki Sauce.

For the Taztziki Sauce:

2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped Cucumber
1 1/2 cups Plain Greek Style Yoghurt
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
1 tablespoon Fresh Dill (or dried is fine too)
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 clove grated Fresh Garlic

Combine everything in a bowl then taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Ideally you can make this ahead and store it for days.

Truly Texan Chili

The debate has raged for decades at potlucks and cookouts; beans or no beans. Tomatoes? Turkey chili!?! This is the “3 B’s” school of chili: beef, beans, and beer. None of that citified ground beef and green peppers nonsense, also, not one speck of tomatoes.

Truly Texan Chili

For the Seasoning Mix:
3 tablespoons Chili powder
1 tablespoon ground Cumin
1/4 cup all-purpose Flour
1 tablespoon dried Oregano
½ teaspoon Cocoa Powder
Combine all ingredients and set aside.

For the Chili:
2 tablespoons Canola or Olive oil
3 pounds Stew Beef
2-3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Pepper
3 cups Beef Stock combined with 1 cup Beer
1 15 oz. can Pinto Beans (drained)

Combine beef broth and beer; set aside. Heat the oil in a large stew pot. Brown beef until no longer pink, and drain most of the extra liquid off. Reduce heat and stir in garlic.

Sprinkle the seasoning mix over meat, stirring until evenly coated. Add broth/beer mixture and stir then bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer on low for 2 ½ to 3 hours, stirring occasionally until thick and meat is tender. Stir in pinto beans.
Serve with corn bread muffins with lots of honey and butter.

Dinner Tonight: Beef Tacos

The boys invited a friend over tonight for a “sleep” over. This recipe is perfect for feeding other peoples children.

Beef Tacos

2 lb. ground beef
1 cup water
1 package taco shells or 10 small flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheese
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 small tomato (diced)
3 tablespoons taco seasoning mix


Dice tomato.
Make seasoning mix:
¼ cup flour
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
Mix all the ingredients well and set aside.

Brown the ground beef and drain the excess fat.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and add 3 tablespoons of the seasoning mix. Stir making sure all of the beef is coated. Add the water and stir well.
Simmer the meat for 10 minutes or until the sauce becomes thick.

Scoop the finished taco meat into a tortilla or taco shells and add cheese, lettuce, tomato.