Beef Wellington: Proof That I Have Lost My Damn Mind
Mistakes were made.
Process errors occurred.
The result was still delicious.
Today, we take a critical look back at The War On Xmas 2016, Battle Of The Kitchen, in which I made
I have good reason to be proud of my meat
Holy shit, this was intense. I failed to mentally rehearse enough, nor did I adequately plan out my timetable. This led to me being disorganized, rushed, and frazzled; inevitably causing me to make errors. The recipe I meant to make is not, quite, the recipe I actually made. What you see below is what I planned to do. The few minor deviations will be discussed after.
None of this mattered. The dish that went to the table was beautiful, fork tender, and loaded with flavor. Gordon Ramsay might not be impressed, but nearly anyone else would. Whether you follow the recipe below or one of the myriad variations available on the net, MAKE THIS. Yes, unless you are a professional chef, it will push your limits - but that's where we learn.
Drinkage level: No.
Serves 6 -8
Time: All of the time. ALL . OF . IT !!!
WHAT YOU NEED!
For the Pate:
For the Duxelles:
(Semi) controlled chaos.
For the Beef:
A few of the main ingredientses.
Holy crap, that's a lot of ingredientses! What kind of hardware do you need? More like what DON'T you need?
Cutting board, big knife, paring knife, heavy skillet, spice grinder, blender, food processor, plastic wrap, strainer, various measuring cups & spoons, rubber spatula, metal spatula, a variety of bowls, a baking sheet, probably something else that I forgot but that's most of it. And a partridge in a damn pear tree.
WHAT TO DO WITH WHAT YOU NEED!
Treat the pate as a separate recipe: it needs at least overnight, and preferably 24 - 48 hours for the flavors to marry. 30 minutes total.
The duxelles can also be made a day or two in advance. I recommend doing so. 15 - 20 minutes total.
And now, Wonkers, it's time for the main event: We need to play with our meat! Get comfortable: this is gonna take a while. Give yourself 2 hours, plus cooking time. Step lively!
The process isn't always pretty.
It . Was . Worth . It.
NOW you can drink. Accept the adulation of the table with a jauntily raised glass of Cabernet - the good stuff - a slight smile, and utterly transparent protestations that it's no big deal, and even if it was, they're worth the trouble.
So, where did things go wrong? Only in a few minor details in process, really. I neglected to wrap my meat before chilling it after searing - I made the duxelles while it was in the fridge. I also too didn't use eggwash to "glue" the puff pastry seams: you totally don't need to. My actual assembly process was clumsy. Oh, and I forgot to sprinkle the assembled Wellington with salt. And, for reasons unknown, the puff pastry fell off when I sliced it, so I used it as a bed under my steaming hot, glistening, slab of juicy beef.
Tell the truth. You want my meat in your mouth RIGHT NOW, don't you?
The biggest problem, however, wasn't anything I did wrong. It was the pate.
While it didn't dominate the flavor of the meat, it did utterly overwhelm the duxelles, which were nearly unnoticeable. They also lingered for an exasperating length of time, leaving an aftertaste that refused to go away, even after a very thorough toothbrushing.
I do not have a "go-to" recipe for pate, so I researched many before settling on this one, which is a pretty generic one. A very large percentage include steeping the livers in milk or cream first, but I also saw numerous claims that this wasn't necessary for chicken livers, as they have a much milder flavor than goose or duck liver. Milder it may be, but "mild" it was not - at least for our palates. For those who love pate, well, use your own judgment. For my part, I will dispense with it the next time I make this dish.
*In reality, once you get past being intimidated by the multi-page list of ingredients and the seemingly endless number of steps, there isn't anything particularly difficult here. I'd say 3, maybe 4/10 difficulty level. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! Intimidation factor of 14/10, though.