Beef Wellington

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Herb and Cheese Tarts

herb & cheese puff pastry

From canapés to after school snacks, puff pastry is the basis for an endless variety of recipes.

Herb and Cheese Tarts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1 Puff Pastry Sheet (defrosted)
1 cup Gruyère Cheese
1/2 cup chopped Kalamatta Olives
1/2 cup Fresh Herbs (Parsley, Basil, Thyme, Tarragon)
Egg Wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon of water: Mix well)

Slice the pastry into 3 equal rectangles and place onto a baking sheet lined in parchment paper. With the tip of a paring knife cut a line into the pastry 1/4 inch from the edge of the dough. Do not cut all the way through. This with make a rim for all the toppings to settle into when you bake it.

Brush the egg wash over the pastry and then top with the cheese, olives.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Add the fresh herbs.
Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Pomme de Terre Tarte

Pomme de terre tart 2014

Pomme de Terre Tarte
3/4 lb. Fingerling Potatoes
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup crumbled Blue Cheese
1 sheet frozen Puff Pastry
1 tablespoon fresh Thyme and Rosemary
Egg Wash (Whisk: 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Thaw the puff pastry and place onto a piece of parchment paper, then pop it back into the fridge to stay cold until time to bake the tart.

Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch coins. Heat an oven safe skillet with a lid on the stove at medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil.
Add the potatoes in a single layer into the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover with the lid and allow the potatoes to steam and cook through, about 7-10 minutes. Stir occasionally so they brown evenly.
Test with the tip of a knife, when they are soft in the middle, take the pan off the heat.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the potatoes and add half the herbs.
Lay the puff pastry over the potatoes and cheese and, tuck in the overlapping corners into the skillet. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash.
Place the skillet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

after baking

Place a piece of parchment paper onto a sheet or pizza pan.
Turn the tart out onto the sheet pan by placing the pan upside down on top of the skillet and carefully (remember your skillet is still hot) flipping the whole thing over. The crust side is now on the bottom and the potato side is facing up.
Sprinkle with the remaining herbs.

If you’d like to crisp up the edge of the crust or melt more cheese over the tart you can place it under the broiler for 2 minutes.

Serve in wedges with a green salad.

Chicken Puff Pie

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My biggest peeve about chicken pot pie is that the crust to stew ratio is terribly disproportionate.

For the Stew:
1/2 cup Butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup Flour
4-5 cups Chicken Stock
Salt & Pepper
2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
2 cups Mixed Vegetables
I used a combination of frozen (thawed) and fresh veggies I had left over.
4 cups cooked Shredded Chicken
You can use a store-bought rotisserie chicken or roast your own. I roasted 2 big chicken breasts then let them cool before I shredded.

In a large high sided pot over medium high, melt the butter. Add the flour and mix until a paste forms. Add the stock, whisking briskly. Turn the heat down a bit and continue to whisk until the sauce is thick. Add more stock if it’s too thick. Season with salt and pepper and the herbs de Provence.
Add the vegetables and shredded chicken. Stir to combine then heat through. You can set this aside off the heat and get started on your pastry crust.

For the Crust:
1 package Puff Pastry (I use Pillsbury)
Egg wash = 1 egg mixed very well with a bit of water
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Defrost the puff pastry and unfold onto parchment lined baking sheets. Cut each pastry sheet into fourths and arrange so they are about an inch or so apart.
Now for each square, measure in at each side roughly half an inch in, and score a line with a knife. Don’t cut all the way through!
Use the egg wash on the outside border of the square. Try not to dribble on the sides or the square won’t puff.
Season with salt and pepper, and place in the over for 20 – 25 minutes.
When they are golden brown and puffy, set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled gently press down along the score line creating a little cup in the pastry.

Spoon the stew into the pastry crust and serve.

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Salmon En Croute

I’ve simplified this seemly fancy schmancy dish for the week night. But really, it’s just plain simple from the outset.

Salmon En Croute

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

4 4oz. Salmon Pieces (skin off)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Fresh or 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1 package Puff Pastry (thawed)
Egg wash (1 egg beaten)
Flour

Start by patting the salmon dry. Then season with salt and pepper, spread each piece with Dijon mustard and, sprinkle with thyme.

Sprinkle your counter with flour; use enough so the dough does not stick. Gently unfold the puff pastry and sprinkle with flour. Roll out the dough so that it is about 2-3 inches wider and longer. Cut the dough in half, brush with the egg wash.

Place the salmon in the middle of the dough then, wrap the long sides around the salmon. Turn your little salmon packages over and slit the top several times to allow steam to escape. Crimp the open sides closed with a fork. Use the rest of the egg wash on the tops of the pastry.

Place your little “en croute” on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until your puff pastry is golden brown.