Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Gift: Beef Wellington

In our home, our meal traditions are turkey for Thanksgiving, beef for Christmas and pork for New Year. One of the most impressive meals that you can serve to your guests is a Beef Wellington.

According to tradition, the dish was named after the Duke of Wellington. Some say it was his favorite meal, and others claim it resembled the boots that he wore. Whatever the case may be, the Duke of Wellington has a grand dish named after him, which became the entertaining extravaganza of the 1960s.

2 -to 2 1/2-pound beef tenderloins
Ground black pepper (optional)
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. butter
2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

Heat the oven to 425°F. Place the beef in a lightly greased roasting pan. Season with the black pepper, if desired. Roast for 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 130°F. Cover the pan and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it's easy to handle. Heat the oven to 425°F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.

Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until the vegetables are tender and all the liquid is evaporated, stirring often.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a rectangle 4 inches longer and 6 inches wider than the beef. Brush the pastry sheet with the egg mixture. Spoon the mushroom mixture onto the pastry sheet to within 1-inch of the edges. Place the beef in the center of the mushroom mixture. Starting at the long sides, fold the pastry over the beef. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Tuck the ends under to seal. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and a meat thermometer reads 140°F. Slice and serve warm.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with Green Beans Amandie. For dessert serve with cheesecake topped with sliced strawberries.

For this dish, I would recommend a nice Cabernet Sauvignon. With the beef and the earthy mushrooms, it is an excellent pair.

This dish will serves 10 guests. I can guarantee that your guests will not only enjoy this feast, but also feel honored to be at the table. So, I would recommend using your best china and flatware for this meal. No paper plates here!

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