...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Food journal number 60: Beef Wellington

Framed by a placemat, and ready to be eaten! Ha!

Beef Wellington. A fancy name for what in plain Swedish, would just be called a baked-in tenderloin, literally: inbakad oxfilé. And as that name suggests, Beef Wellington is nothing else than tenderloin wrapped in something. The outer layer consists of puff pastry; the middle layer can be anything from paté to duxelles (another fancy name for mushroom paste, which is what we made and used). But Mmmm! If something so delicious hides under that generic name, we might as well call it Beef Wellington to give it some recognition it deserves.

The first time I heard about Beef Wellington, I was watching Gordon Ramsey's Hell's Kitchen. Beef Wellington seems to be almost a staple there; like half of the guests order it. I had no idea what it was until they showed the dish coming out in plates, and the mystery dish... uh, looked like something we cooked before! It resembled inbakad fläskfilé, which is guess what! baked-in pork loins (that is, instead of beef tenderloin). Now only baked-in beef tenderloin can be called Beef Wellington, for obvious reasons. But one major difference is that, instead of having a wet mushroom sauce inside the dough, Beef Wellington calls for a dry mushroom paste. Beef Wellington also doesn't have to cook for so long as inbakad fläskfile. The beef can remain red, which I suppose would be another reason not to put a sauce that could boil inside the dough.

If you have a couple of minutes, here's a short clip on how Ramsey does his Beef Wellingtons. He's making something here for one or two people. We had about a kilo of tenderloin to bake though, so ours was pretty much a "family size" version of this one.

I used a recipe from our trusty, heavy Stora Kokboken (literally, The Big Cookbook), which even recommends making the dish with tomatoes provençal basically tomatoes with the seed house taken out and stuffed with bread crumbs, garlic and herbs. It makes a super side dish; you don't need much else, actually.

Beef Wellington, a.k.a. Inbakad oxfilé
4-6 portions

600-700 g tenderloin, well trimmed
1 T butter
1/2 t salt
pepper to taste

For the mushroom filling:
1 shallot
200 g fresh mushrooms
1-2 T butter
100 g cooked eller smoked ham
2 T tomato paste
a dash of pepper
a dash of salt
1 egg yolk

For wrapping:
puff pastry sheets
whished egg or whisked egg whites

1. Trim the tenderloin really well. Sear it in a pan with butter to seal. Spice and let cool.

2. Finely dice the mushrooms and the shallots. Sauteé them in a pan with some butter until all the moisture has evaporated (takes some time, and some mixing). Finely dice the ham and mix it together with the mushroom paste and spices (I blitzed it all up together and further evaporated the paste). Let cool completely, then mix in the yolk.

3. Let the puff pastry sheets defrost a bit and roll it into a rectangle that could fit the tenderloin, abut 30 x 35 cm. Spread a little of the mushroom paste on the dough, lay the tenderloin on top and smear some more mushroom paste around it. (The cookbook recommends cutting folds into the loin and stuffing those with filling too; I skipped this part since I didn't want the meat too cooked).

4. Wrap the dough carefully around the tenderloin to create a packet. Make sure the sides are folded tight. Roll the packet so that the big fold would end up on the bottom, not top side. Make three holes on the dough and feel free to decorate with the remaining dough from the packet-folding, as I did here:

I wasn't that creative; I just copied the decor from the cookbook picture. Those are leaves, in case you didn't see it ;-)

5. Brush the packet with the whisked egg or egg whites and let rest in a cool place for 15-20 minutes before baking in a preheated (200-degrees C) oven. Depending on the size of your tenderloin and how rare you want the meat, bake for 30-40 minutes.

And there you have it! To quote from Ramsey: "Done!"


Blogger Al de Cruz said...

wow... i wish I could taste it someday.

7:15 AM


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