1) I want to see Darius Rucker perform live.
2) I want to do more squats (significantly more, cuz right now 5 would be "more")
3) I want to learn new things.
Well Darius isn't performing in the Bay Area tonight, and I don't feel like doing squats right now (and therein lies the problem!), so I decided that I would go with #3 and tackle a recipe that always intimidated me, as my New Years Eve dinner: Beef Wellington. As it turns out, it's not that intimidating, it just involved more steps than I usually care to take and more pots/pans than I like to wash. I followed a recipe from Tyler's Ultimate show from FoodNetwork.com. You can probably just google it and follow the recipe like I did, but I thought it might be nice for you to see how it all progressed and ended with this.....
First of all I felt better having my cooking partner in crime Chef Tom there to help me. He was classically trained at the CCA, so I tend to turn to him when I want to try a classic dish like this one. So here's how it goes...don't be intimidated like I was; it's easy and sooooooo worth the little bit of extra effort.
First things first - make a duxelle. That's simply mushrooms, shallot, garlic and thyme. Process them in a food processor until finely chopped.
Then sauté that mixture in a little butter and olive oil. I like to use unsalted butter when I cook, so that I can control the seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture is removed and season it with salt and pepper.
While the duxelle is cooking, lay out some plastic wrap and layer them with slices of prosciutto. I used three slices, slightly overlapping, down the length of the plastic.
Next, spread a layer of the duxelle on top of the prosciutto. Starting out pretty dang good, right?!
You want to sear the fillets (just about 3-4 minutes) in a screaming hot pan (you know I think it should be cast iron, right?), brush with Dijon mustard and place them toward one end of the prosciutto so you can roll it up.....
Wrap them up tightly and place in the fridge for about a half hour to firm up. Now comes the puff pastry...be still my heart! Tom suggested putting a little bit of butter and olive oil under the beef to keep the juices from making the pastry soggy....
And then you just fold it up like a big, juicy present. Use a little egg wash on each fold to act like a glue and then give the finished product one more brush; this will make the pastry beautifully browned.
Then into a 425 degree oven for about 35 minutes. Take it out an let it sit briefly (thank God it doesn't need to sit as long as a roast, because THAT would be torture!)
Now if that's not delicious enough, we made Tyler's green peppercorn sauce to serve with it. You start by sautéing more shallots, garlic and thyme in olive oil.
After a few minutes you're ready to scare the heck out of yourself.....one word: Flambe. I had to make Tom do this because I know he's done it before, but more importantly because I'm a huge klutz and I like my house. Tyler's recipe calls for removing the skillet from the heat, adding brandy and lighting the mixture with "a large kitchen match." Tom didn't seem to be phased by the fact that I didn't have a large kitchen match. He said, "This is a gas stove, we don't need a match" and promptly tipped the pan and ignited the brandy (he's a professional, so it worked out just fine, but I did have a minute or so of sheer panic as I watched the flames dance up toward the hood, and immediately thought of another new year's resolution - get a fire extinguisher for my kitchen!)
Once the flames die down (felt like FOREVER), you add beef broth and reduce the sauce by half. Then strain out the solids (that part breaks my heart, cuz those shallots are delicious little nuggets that should be eaten - crackers, anyone?!) and return the liquid to the heat. You add cream (yes, heavy cream! It's just one day, so forgive yourself.) and Dijon mustard and reduce it again by half. When it's ready you simply add some green peppercorns drained from the brine you buy them in, and you begin to write Tyler Florence a thank you note.....
We served the sauce on the side (Tom's suggestion; I wanted to pour that puppy aaaalllll over the Wellington, potatoes and asparagus! I conceded because without his mad flambé skills (and he brought the brandy), I wouldn't have had the sauce in the first place. You do what you want....but whatever you do, make this dish!
Ironically I teach cooking classes to make people feel less intimidated in the kitchen, but I have allowed myself to be intimidated by certain recipes and techniques. I may not be flambéing any time soon, but I WILL be tackling more recipes that take me out of my comfort zone. Hope you'll join me on the journey.
What dish have you always wanted to try, but haven't yet?????
Here's Tyler's recipe: