Friday, January 4, 2013

Individual Beef Wellington and Garlic Rosemary Potatoes

Individual Beef Wellington

Hello Desirables
How are you this fine morning?  Apologies for all the food posts, but that's what we have been doing around here......eating. You too no doubt. I'm determined to loose 5kg by 28 Jan, so I may tell you my plans for how I'm doing that soon, but for now we are talking special occasion food.

Tradition demands that my family and I always have an elegant meal on Christmas Eve.  I enjoy cooking very much and to me it is a way to unwind, after what has usually been the most hectic month of the year.

What with a wedding anniversary (what were we thinking getting married three days before Christmas?)

and a birthday to organise in the week before Christmas, 

I love nothing more than sitting down with my family for an intimate dinner on the night before the big day.  Hard with kids I know, but we do try.

Here's to the Cooks
It always has to be easy, but impressive.  I think individual Beef Wellington fits the bill brilliantly, as long as you are letting your waist line go, for that special occasion, this is the perfect celebration dinner.

This recipe was made with a mushroom duxelle or rustic mushroom pate, but if you can't be bothered with the fuss of all that, all you need to do a lather some fois gras pre pastry wrapping, onto your meat, rather than the mushrooms.  My mum and dad, both fabulous cooks, used to add a slice of lightly cooked bacon to the fois gras as well.  I am yet to cook it like that, but I remember it tasting fabulous as a kid, at their famous Sunday lunches.

I served the Beef Wellington with Garlic Rosemary Potatoes and Spinach au Gratin (recipe up next)

This recipe serves four 

Individual Beef Wellington with Mushroom Duxelle

4 equally sized pieces of rib eye beef fillet. About 150-200g each depending on who you are feeding. I usually buy a rib eye block at Harris Farm, when it's on sale and freeze it.  It is reasonably priced and I slice it myself.  Any leftovers can be used for stir fries.
Salt and pepper to taste
250g mushrooms 
1 onion roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves only (dry would be fine too, but use a little less)
1  teaspoon butter  & 1 tablespoon of olive oil for the mushroom duxelle
1  teaspoon butter  & 1 teaspoon of olive oil for the beef
1 large clove garlic crushed
1/2 cup red wine
4 sheets of puff pastry thawed.  I cut about 2cm/1 inch from one side of each sheet of pastry, to use to decorate the finished Beef Wellington package.
1 egg yolk whisked with 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 220C if you like your beef rare to medium rare.  Cook it for 20-25 minutes.  Preheat it to 180C/375F if you prefer your beef medium to well done and cook it for 30-35 minutes.  I recommend the former.  Meat of this quality deserves to be eaten rare.  I promise you will learn to love it if you give it a try.  Just don't think about it and put it in your mouth, you will never look back.

Place mushrooms and onion into a blender or food processor and whiz until they are finely chopped.....almost pureed.

In a non stick pan add butter and oil over a medium heat, add garlic and thyme and fry off for a minute or 2 until fragrant.
Add the mushroom mixture, allow to cook for several minutes. then add the red wine and allow to reduce for 15 minutes or so. 

Allow mixture to cool slightly, and place in a sieve to strain off mushroom juices.  I pushed them through with a wooden spoon to speed up the process.

Meanwhile salt and pepper your meat to taste.  In a clean pan, heat some more butter and oil and seal your beef.  If you like it medium rare do this for a minute or two on each side.  If you prefer it medium to well done do it for about 4-5 minutes on each side.

Allow your beef to rest for 10 minutes or so and in the mean time continue to drain off the mushroom juices. I retain those juices for stocks or just drink them as a healthy tonic.  Yum.  Mushrooms are a great liver cleanser Lets just assume the booze has cooked off. 

Place about 2-3 heaped dessert spoons full of the mushroom mixture onto the middle thawed and trimmed  pastry.

Squash it down with the back of a spoon, to about 1cm or 1/2 an inch thick.

Place your cooled but warm beef onto the pastry.  Fold up the sides of the pastry and wrap it like a present.

Flip your package over and decorate with roses and leaves that you have cut from the pastry off cuts

Use the tip of a knife to make veins on the leaves and you only need about 2 cm or 1 inch lengths of pastry to make the rose, which you pinch at the bottom, so it spreads out on top.  Brush your packages with the egg wash.  To get a better crisper result from your pastry, it is much better if it is placed in the oven chilled.  Place some baking paper on a plate and store your packages in the fridge covered with cling film until required.  Don't worry if the plate has some blood from the meat on it when you get it out of the fridge several hours later. As this recipe can be made several hours ahead, it's perfect for a dinner party. 

Cook according to taste directions above and enjoy.  I shall post the Spinach au Gratin recipe next.  Another recipe which can be made in advance, making this an easy, but very impressive dinner party menu.
Just a tip, if you are cooking the potatoes with this you will not be able to cook them at 220C.  Cook them first and keep warm by covering.  Once you have removed your beef, turn off the oven and pop them back in for a few minutes to heat up before serving.  

Garlic Rosemary Potatoes
1 desiree potato per person chopped into 3 pieces. Leave the skin on by all means
Drizzle with peanut or olive oil and salt. Make sure the potatoes are well covered. Mix through roughly chopped garlic gloves, with the skin intact and sprigs of rosemary. If you rub the rosemary between your hands the fragrance will release more readily.
Bake for 35-40 minutes in a preheated oven at 180C or until golden brown and soft.

Bon appetit.  

For my other easy recipes go here.

Have you entered my Rustoleum paint giveaway yet?  Go here for that.  If you want to do a few quick projects around the house this year, this one is sooooo for you.   It is so quick and easy to use. Not many entires yet, so your chances are good.

Today I am linked up here
Feathered Nest Friday


  1. This looks so yummy! One thing I miss about being GF is puff pastry!
    I am doing a bit of a cleanse/detox over January and I am hoping to loose those extra 5 kgs as a bonus as well!

  2. Carolyn, you tugged at my heartstrings with individual beef wellingtons! I love them and love to make them. My recipe is almost the same... but yours are BEAUTIFUL!
    I have a weekly food linky called ON THE MENU MONDAY. I would love you to join me with this scrumptious recipe!!! Link goes live every Sunday at 8:00 pm. Hope you will join in!

  3. they sound really delicious!
    making me hungry.

  4. I LOVE Beef Wellington and do not have the confidence to try to make it at home! But individual ones sounds a little more do-able for me.... And Happy Anniversary. That just makes Christmas even more special part of the year!

  5. Love to try these one night. Love the pics of the kids!!
    I can almost hear the laughter!!

    Hope you achieve your weight loss!!


  6. I've had beef wellington and like it very much. I don't persume i would be any great shakes at making it but I do make a great guest.

  7. Gorgeous Carolyn. This year was the first year I had my crew all gathered for a meal for Christmas (other than year's prior at Mum's). I can remember one year, rocking in my bed in the foetal position thinking I could pull it off. The things we do!

    Anne xx

  8. Your Beef Wellingtons look fabulous! I've never cooked them myself - my husband doesn't like either foie gras or mushrooms :(

  9. Everything looks so beautiful. I just love your Christmas table setting and your Beef Wellingtons are so pretty. I know what you mean about getting married just before Christmas - I got married a few days after Christmas and it's no better the other side of Christmas either - what were we thinking! xx


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