Sunday, March 16, 2008

The return of the Moo!

D and I are planning Sunday lunch today, LLcT (now renamed GT) is on some carb-free, steamed fish and salad only regime. Entirely self-inflicted I must add, I’m not even sure that a size 0 model has a smaller BMI than GT, but each to their own! So we ask GT what would tickle his fancy today and he requested Beef Wellington! We did have to check that he understood the concept of the Wellington part and how puff pastry wasn’t normally considered to be carb free but he was happy that we proceeded. Methinks that a certain orange-y one has had a little too much steamed fish!

We decide to base our meat monster on Gordon Ramsay’s version from Sunday Dinners, enveloping the plump beef fillet and mushroom duxelle with Parma ham before the pastry jacket. Though I had to make a small adjustment, the skinnier end of the fillet was spread with finely sliced and sautéed leeks as E(D) doesn’t do mushrooms. And also she likes her beef a lot more cooked than the rest of us so the thinner end should just be perfect!

Beef Wellington
Gordon Ramsay and from the F Word – serves 2

400g Beef fillet
400g Flat mushrooms
4 slices Parma ham

English mustard for brushing meat
200g puff pastry
2 Egg yolks

Approx 8 Charlotte/New potatoes
1 Clove garlic, crushed
1 Sprig thyme

2 large baby gem lettuce
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Mustard vinaigrette, optional

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200c.
  2. Heat some oil in a large pan and quickly fry the seasoned beef all over until it's brown. Remove and allow to cool. The point of this is simply to sear the beef and seal all those juices in, you don't want to cook the meat at this stage. Allow to cool and brush generously with the mustard.
  3. Roughly chop the mushrooms and blend in a food processor to form a puree. Scrape the mixture into a hot, dry pan and allow the water to evaporate. When sufficiently dry (the mixture should be sticking together easily), set aside and cool.
  4. Roll out a generous length of cling film, lay out the four slices of Parma ham, each one slightly overlapping the last. With a pallet knife spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the ham.
  5. Place the beef fillet in the middle and keeping a tight hold of the cling film from the outside edge, neatly roll the Parma ham and mushrooms over the beef into a tight barrel shape. Twist the ends to secure the clingfilm. Refrigerate for 10 -15 minutes, this allows the Wellington to set and helps keep the shape.
  6. Roll out the pastry quite thinly to a size which will cover your beef. Unwrap the meat from the cling film.
  7. Egg wash the edge of the pastry and place the beef in the middle. Roll up the pastry, cut any excess off the ends and fold neatly to the 'underside'. Turnover and egg wash over the top.
  8. Chill again to let the pastry cool, approximately 5 minutes. Egg wash again before baking at 200c for 35 - 40 minutes. Rest 8 -10 minutes before slicing.
  9. Par boil the potatoes in salted water. Quarter them and leave the skin on. Sauté in olive oil and butter with the garlic and thyme, until browned and cooked through. Season. Remove the thyme and garlic before serving.
  10. Separate the outside leaves of the baby gem (leaving the smaller inner ones for salads) and very quickly sauté them in a pan of olive oil with a little salt and pepper - just enough to wilt them.
  11. Serve hearty slices of the Wellington alongside the sautéed potatoes and wilted baby gems. A classic mustard vinaigrette makes a great dressing.

As ever I tweaked the recipe a little, for example I don’t want to assemble, disassemble and wash a food processor to make the mushroom puree so I cut the mushroom much finer instead. Gordon’s recipe demands various stages of chilling, resting and anointing, but as long as you’ve left yourself enough time this seemed a very good idea so all the necessary resting and chilling was adhered to. The wrapping tightly in clingfilm is not something I would normally do but it does make for a wonderfully neat parcel so it is worth the effort.

The first time I made a Beef Wellington here several years ago I tried to decorate the top with pastry cows but my free-form cut cows just looked strangely alien so I abandoned these horned blobs in favour of D’s suggestion of the letters M, O and O. This one fed everyone and the extra additions of the fluffy one and extravagantly eyebrowed J.

So for my second pastry clad hunk of beef here I guessed really the only answer is to crown it with the letters MOO2. I don’t have that large letter cutters but they are easy enough to cut by hand and thoroughly glaze to ensure a golden glow after baking.

The new Moo seemed to go down very well, with the plates licked clean;. We accompanied the fat juicy slices with some sautéed potatoes and creamy frozen peas with shredded floppy lettuce which wilted seductively into the creamy juices. And it must have hit the spot as the possibility of there being a MOO3 was discussed.

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