Sunday, 29th December 2013We had our Christmas dinner together today, and I did Beef Wellington, which is something we had thought about for a long time. It turned out to be pretty straightforward and, barring the preparation, the cooking time was only about 40 minutes, so relatively quick to put together after the ceremony of the unwrapping of the gifts (which took quite a bit longer than 40 minutes!).
The beef was seasoned and seared quickly on both sides and allowed to cool. I also made mushroom duxelles - chop shallot, garlic and mushroom, fry in butter until the liquid is gone, then add a little wine and deglaze and again allow the liquid to boil away. These also need to be cooled. I made the pastry parcel with a slice of pate (pheasant in this case) duxelles and the beef. Seal the edges with beaten egg and glaze with more egg. Bake with the sealed edges underneath for about 20 minutes and allow to rest for a further 10 minutes.
I had two separate pieces of filet and was originally planning to do two individual Beef Wellingtons but, as one piece was quite a bit bigger than the other, I decided to put them both together in one pastry parcel. Good decision as the smaller piece of meat was much less good and a bit sinewy. We got to share the larger, good piece, which was beautifully lean and tender.
I improvised a sauce by reducing red wine and stock, with a spoonful of the mushroom duxelles, a chopped shallot and some tomato puree. The result was too tomatoey, so I added more stock, some port and reduced it again, and thickened it with a little cornflower. Came out pretty nicely, but could have been richer.
This was served with bratkartoffeln, buttered leeks and salsify (Schwarzwurzel) with lemon juice and nutmeg. Delicious.