December 27, 2009

Knocking it out of the park??

by Shelly

This was our first Christmas in our new home! Last year we were all crammed into a tiny nook of a dining room trying to do Christmas Eve dinner, but this year we could spread out! Not only can we now fit 10 people in our dining room, but I don’t have to yell at everyone to get out of my kitchen so I have room to cook and move.

Since my hubby’s eighty-six year old grandma was coming down from Central California to join in the festivities, I decided to try my hand at an old school classic dish….Beef Wellington! I didn’t really know exactly what it was to be honest. I just knew it was a serious classic Christmas dish and it sounded…well fancy. I wanted to try it AND “kill it” aka knock it out of the park, if possible. Then a few weeks ago one of my fav chefs on the Food Network, Tyler Florence made Beef Wellington and that was it..
Here’s how I did it:
1) First I sauteed finely chopped button mushrooms, garlic, thyme and shallots. I made this a few days ahead, so I was freaked out the day of trying to do it all at once. I stuck it in the fridge for a few days.
2) The day before Christmas Eve I bought a 3 1/2 lb. beef tenderloin from Costco. NO….it was not cheap! It ran me about $60-65 or so. But this was a special occasion, so I wanted to go all out.
3) I tied up the beef in four places to keep the beef in a cylindrical shape while cooking it. I rubbed extra virgin olive oil all over it and liberally salt and peppered the surface. Then I popped it in a hot pan with olive oil and seared the whole outside. Then I set it aside and let it cool a bit.

4) Then you lay out a large piece of plastic wrap. You have to make sure the wrap is big enough to roll the beef in and cover completely. On this piece of plastic wrap you shingle thin slices of prosciutto…about 6 slices on top and 6 slices on the bottom…in a square shape. Then you take your sauteed mushroom mixture that you’ve made ahead, and spread a thin layer of it over the prosciutto. Once you’ve done that you sprinkle kosher salt, cracked pepper, and thyme leaves over the surface.
5) Once your meat has cooled, you cut off the twine and smear the entire surface with a good dijon mustard.
6)Next, you take your seared tenderloin, plop it down in the center of your mushroom’ed prosciutto and using the plastic wrap, roll it up tightly tucking the ends of the prosciutto as you go. I twisted the ends to secure it and from this point you still the beef in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so it will hold it’s shape. I left the beef in a whole day before the big event. It came out just fine.
7) The day of I rolled out one pound of thawed puff pastry on a floured surface. You then unwrap the plastic from the beef and plop that sucker right down in the middle of your pastry. You need to make sure you roll the dough out wide and long enough so that it will wrap around your hunk of meat. Then you roll it up in the dough, tuck under the ends, using egg wash to secure and put the ugly seam side down on a baking sheet. Then you egg wash the entire surface, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and make a few small slits to let out steam during cooking. And then you stick it in a 425 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 125 degrees.
8) Once it’s reached the 125 degree mark, take it out set it on a platter and cover it with foil. Now don’t touch! Let it rest for 10-15 minutes..the juices will make their way back into the beef and the beef will continue to cook at this point.
9) Then you slice it in nice thick slices and pour some yummy Green Peppercorn Gravy over the top and ENJOY!
The meal came out PERFECTO! And I got some serious rave reviews from the fam. I won’t lie..it was a lot of work, but I felt like a champ after I was done. I also made the rest of the dishes that Tyler Florence made with his Beef Wellington. You can find the whole menu here.
Hope you knocked it out the park this holiday season too!

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