Sunday, December 26, 2010

Twenty-First-Century Beef Wellington (Page 418)

RECIPE #1241

  • Date: Saturday, November 20, 2010 -- 5pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Helen, Charles, Clara, Corbett, Mary, Allison, Ben S., Kendra, Jubin, Watson, Linda, and Bob K.
  • Recipe Rating: B+

I made this Beef Wellington to serve at our Pre-Thanksgiving dinner last month. Calling this Beef Wellington (even with the Twenty-First-Century added on the front) feels like a bit of a misnomer. Traditional Beef Wellington involves coating beef tenderloin with pate de fois gras and mushroom duxelles, and then wrapping the whole thing in puff pastry and baking it. This recipe called for beef tenderloin to be coated with a cilantro walnut filling, and then wrapped in a sour cream dough that was closer to a pate brisee than a puff. Indeed while The Book calls this Twenty-First-Century Beef Wellington, online the recipe is called Beef en Croute with Coriander Walnut Filling, which seems like a much more appropriate name. The above might seem like a silly discussion, having little to do with the actual success of the recipe, but in this case it did influence my perspective on the dish. If you are expecting Beef Wellington, it's hard to eat this and not think, "This isn't Beef Wellington," and feel a little disappointed. If you were expecting Beef en Croute with Coriander Walnut Filling, this dish wouldn't have been at all disappointing.

To make the dish I started by preparing the filling and dough (see posts below). I seasoned and seared the beef tenderloin. I put some of the filling on the dough, then set the beef on top of the filling and spread the remaining filling on the beef. I carefully wrapped the dough around the beef and decorated with some dough cut-outs. I brushed everything with egg wash, then chilled it for an hour. I baked the beef wrapped in dough until the beef reached 115 degrees. After it rested it was ready to serve! The dish was pretty tasty. It's hard to go too wrong with beef tenderloin, and wrapping meat in pastry is almost always a good idea. I wasn't super-crazy about the cilantro walnut filling though. It was neither great nor terrible. It certainly wasn't mushroom duxelles and pate de fois gras -- Yum!! If I were going to make this type of beef en croute again, I would definitely replace the cilantro filling with duxelles. But even as it was, it was quite tasty. It made for an elegant addition to our Pre-Thanksgiving dinner.

The recipe is here.

Only 52 recipes left to go!

Merry Christmas! My special gentleman and I have had a lovely holiday, full of celebrations! On the 22nd my immediate family went out for a very nice dinner then the six of us opened presents at my parents' place in Madison. The next day we headed to Oshkosh, Wisconsin where my extended family lives. The whole family gathered at a local bar for hours of card playing and catching up. On Christmas Eve we went to my aunt's house, where the 24 people on my mom's side of the family gathered to eat turkey, open gifts, play cards, and take the annual family Christmas photo:


It is always fun celebrating with my mom's family, and this year was no exception. The highlight: my cousin Alex doing the Double Dream Hands dance along with the instructional video. Apparently he memorized it during finals week. Ah, to be an undergraduate!

Early in the evening on Christmas Eve we left Wisconsin and headed for my special gentleman's family in Ohio. The upside of driving through the night on Christmas was that there was no traffic. The downside was that the weather was really rotten for the first 4 or so hours of the drive, and nothing was open along the way, save for one McDonald's. In total it took about 9 hours, but we made it and got a few hours of sleep before it was time to open gifts on Christmas morning. After present-opening my mother-in-law's extended family came over for dinner. The 24 of us ate beef tenderloin and exchanged gifts. We ended the evening with a round of Kill Doctor Lucky, followed by a game of Risk that lasted until 2am. Today we are preparing for another celebration as my father-in-law's family is coming over to celebrate Christmas. We are expecting 26 people for dinner. Speaking of, I should go help with the preparations.

Merry Christmas! I hoping everyone is having a fantastic holiday season filled with loved ones!

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