I did it – I joined the Daring Cooks! Since I have had to put the culinary portion of my Food and the Media Certificate on hold whilst I complete a couple of PhD courses, I am missing the weekly challenge of cooking something new. I thought the Daring Cooks was a great way to keep my hand in the kitchen and challenge myself to make new dishes.
Variations were allowed: Mandatory for this challenge was to cook with pastry! If you do not like fish or are allergic to salmon, you were allowed substitute the salmon for the Beef version, which is Beef Wellington.
I felt I lucked out a bit since I have made Beef Wellingtons before – in Culinary II. Anyway- here goes, my first Daring Cook’s “reveal”:
Total prep time is 3 hours
Blender or food processor
15 cm crepe pan or small frying pan or griddle
Ingredients for Beef Wellington (serves 4)
Button mushrooms – 17.6 ounces/500gr (stalks removed and finely chopped)
Olive oil – 2-3 tbsp
thyme – 1 sprig
Beef fillet, center cut piece – 21.16 ounce/600 gr
English mustard – 1 tbsp
puff pastry (all butter pastry pack) – 17.6 ounce/500 gr
parma ham (prosciutto) – 3 slices
egg yolk – 1 pcs, beaten
For the herb crepes:
plain (all purpose) flour – 0.3 cup/1.76 ounce/50 gr
milk – 0.5 cup/125 ml
mixed herbs – 1 tbsp (chopped, use herbs such as cervil, chives and tarragon)
butter – 0.5 tbsp
1. To make the crepes, whizz the flour, egg and milk with a pinch of salt in a blender or processor until smooth. Pour into a jug and stir in the herbs and some seasoning. Leave to rest.
2. Fry the mushrooms in a little oil until they give up all their moisture and it has evaporated, leaving you with a thick paste. Add the thyme leaves and some seasoning and keep cooking for a few minutes. Cool.
3. Stir the melted butter into the crepe batter, heat a 15 cm crepe pan and oil it lightly. Pour in enough batter to make a thin layer on the base of the pan, cook until the top surface sets and then turn over and cook briefly. Remove and repeat with the rest of the batter. This will make a couple more than you need so choose the thinnest ones for the recipe.
5. Lay a large sheet of cling-film on a kitchen surface and put two crepes down on it, overlapping a little. Lay over the parmaham (prosciutto). Spread the mushroom mixture over the ham and put the beef in the centre. Roll the cling-film up, taking the crepe with it, to wrap the beef completely into a nice neat log. Chill for 1 hour.
6. Heat the oven to 200°C/390F. Roll out the pastry, remove the clingfilm and wrap the beef in the pastry like a parcel, with the ends tucked under. Trim to keep it nice and neat. Brush with egg, score with shallow lines across the top and chill for 20 minutes.
7. Cook for 20 minutes. The best way to test if the meat is done to your liking is to neatly and carefully stick a skewer into the beef, count to three and then test it against your inner wrist. If it is cold, the beef will be raw, if it is warm then the beef will be rare and if it’s hot, it’ll be cooked through. Leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
These were GOOD! Thy were even good reheated in the oven a day later (they were SO big, even though we only had the equivalent of a normal steak each). The pastry was a little thick on the bottom – must work on my folding technique – but overall I was impressed with this recipe. Even though there are a lot of steps, it is actually pretty simple. Next time, I might even make my own pastry!!!