Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Wednesday Wellys"
Beef Wellingtons
A messy morning with my cohort in culinary messes:  Miss Maria

By 4:00PM this afternoon, it was near the century mark on the outside thermometer.  With that having been the weather norm the last couple of weeks, off and on, mostly on, we decided to cook dinner in the morning, while it was cool enough to have the house open, cool breezes flowing throughout.  

We started with the Zucchini Corn Fritters.  We amended the original recipe I'd noted in my previous blog by not only adding the zucchini, but keeping the cilantro and the garlic (not called for in the original).  Wow, did those turn out fan-tas-tic!  Very tasty, particularly with a Salsa Verde dipping sauce (store bought, this time).  

And now, the Beef Wellingtons!

There is not a whole lot of written directions to give, and my recipe is the simplest it could possibly be, and with the fewest ingredients you will Ever read in one of my blogs, gentle readers!  Here goes:

What you will need in your kitchen:
1 package "Fillo" pastry sheets, 2 rolls  (There are several brands out there, but again, you Do want the sheets)
4 filet mignon steaks, cut into cubes, about 3 inches by three inches, or 4 inches by four inches.  (your choice)
1 block or triangle, Blue Cheese
3 cups baby spinach (whole, not chopped)
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Non-stick cooking spray (for the grill)

What to do:
I know I get a bit verbose in my blog writing, but I promise to let the pictures fill you in.  I began by placing a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet, dusting it with flour, and then placing the first sheet of "Fillo" pastry over it.  I brushed melted butter onto the sheet, and repeated that procedure five more times.  Each layer, including the top sheet, was brushed with butter.  I then took a grilled steak (simply seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled for a short time, as if only to sear the steak, not fully cook it) and placed it into the center of the pastry sheets.  I placed two teaspoons of blue cheese atop that, followed by 6 - 8 baby spinach leaves (but I should have used 10 -15 leaves).  I folded one half of the pastry sheets over the steak.  

Miss Maria took over after I demonstrated the first Wellington package.
I am demonstrating how to fold the "Fillo" pastry sheets and butter them, to form a little package, as you see in the forefront. Note the parchment paper on the baking sheet, dusted with flour.  It's a handy tip I learned.

Not being very sure of my technique, I started off using smaller steaks (three inches by three inches), and then graduated to the larger steaks.  Not too bad, right?

 We used two rolls of the pastry sheets, for five Wellingtons, each about six layers thick.  I baked them for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees (low and slow), until the packages were golden brown.  I let them rest for about seven or eight minutes before serving. 

You can see that the braver I became, the larger the Wellington packages got. 

After we used up the "Fillo" pastry sheets, I used actual pastry dough (in tri-fold sheets).  You can find them anywhere in the frozen foods section.  We cleared off the granite counter top, cleaned it thoroughly, dusted it with flour, and carefully unfolded it.  I dusted the damp corners and lightly dusted the upward facing sheet, and gently rolled it out to about 1/4 inch thick.  

Place a steak in the center of the sheet (although, more effectively and efficiently, you Could cut the one sheet into four squares and use the smaller cubes of steak.  I wanted to try (key term Try) to make a fancy package.  Good idea, but it did not work out in the end.  Still, good stuff!  My bright idea, however, was to use my pizza stone to bake the two final Wellingtons on.  I brushed the large packages with a sheen of butter and atop that, egg wash.  Worked very well as binders, as well as to give them that wonderful golden brown color we all love. 

I am folding the package, trying to keep my hand out of the way.  Oops!
I know, not that pretty, but it sure tasted good!  I used a small knife to poke vent shafts around the top of the package.  No need to do to that when using the "Fillo" dough sheets.  I baked them on the stone for about 30 minutes, again at 375 degrees.  The steak continues to cook inside the package, which is why I do only sear them on the grill.  

After I let them rest, I cut them open to show the inside.  That is when I learned that I should have used more spinach and more cheese.  Still, upon tasting, the cheese had oozed into the dough and gave the meat a savory, salty flavor, and the spinach was just a bonus!

This is a sliced open Beef Wellington package plated with a Zucchini Corn Fritter.  

 See that the cheese had oozed onto the pizza stone?  It sizzled when it spilled out!  I realize I needed to let the package rest longer. Sure looks inviting, though!

Here we are, looking like the proud parents of Beef Wellingtons!  Inside our minds, we were both thinking:  "Gimme that plate!"