All this rain got me thinking about Wellies, which reminded me of the Duke of Wellington, which brought me to Beef Wellington.
My mind just rolls that way.
Anyway, I realized that I have never eaten, much less made, Beef Wellington. Neither had My Beloved, as it turned out. Gotta try it, right?
My online and cookbook research showed several variations of sublime beef baked in puff pastry until it is perfectly pink on the inside, with various goodies enclosed to flavor the meat. The suggested goodies included, but were not limited to, duxelles, paté, proscuitto, English mustard and thyme. This being my first attempt and Julia Child being my ultimate heroine, I decided to go with duxelles and paté.
The recipes called for either phyllo dough or puff pastry as the container for all that crazy deliciousness, but what I had in the freezer was Star dough, so I thought I'd try that. That's why you see my beef busting out of the pastry in the photo above - take it from me, it's puff pastry that you want. Puff pastry is by nature elastic; pie dough is not supposed to be. We live and learn.
I made the duxelles the day before, then trimmed, browned and cooled the meat and assembled the Wellington the next morning, layering the pastry first, then the paté, the duxelles and, lastly, the two filets mignons, wrapping it all tightly in the pastry and letting it chill all day in the fridge. Brushed it with a little egg wash and baked it in a 425 degree oven for just 25 suspenseful minutes.
While it baked, My Beloved enjoyed his dainty appetizer of the carefully trimmed and minced raw beef left over from cleaning up the filets for the Wellington. He's got a little bit of the cannibal in him; he loved it.
The Wellington came out of the oven sadly broken but beautifully browned of crust. The paté almost melted into the duxelles, making for a shroomy sort of lightly liverish paste that was amazing all by itself. Then, the carefully trimmed beef took over and wowed us with its refined and delicate pinkness. Swoon City!
Would I make it again? In a heartbeat! I will save it for a company meal or a very special occasion as the ingredients are 'way spendy, but having frozen in little packets most of the duxelles I made for this meal, I have the most time-consuming part already covered.
I can already envision my guests' pleasure when I bring out the golden brown pastry on an elegant platter, surrounded by bright vegetables. I think I will go with my fanciest china and crystal but maybe use my stainless steel everyday flatware, suitable for a Duke dining in muddy rubber boots.