Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lessons from a Beef Wellington

The other day I had some friends coming over. Before they came, I sat down and watched an episode of Hell's Kitchen, just as I was deciding what to make for dinner.

Someone had burned one of the beef wellington again and I thought to myself, why not try it? Why not try to make beef wellington. I had always been curious about the taste. I had filet mignon and some puff pastry. How bad could it be?

The idea in principle was pretty good. I came up with my own take on the recipe and thought I would give it a try. Here are some things I learned along the way.

1. If you have a a bottle of wine reducing on the stove, don't get distracted with political conversation. You will burn the wine and it will turn solid. Interesting, but also hard to clean and will fill your house with smoke.

2. NEVER try to make a beef wellington for the first time at 8:30 at night, when you have to get up early the next morning. Especially if you are going to keep getting distracted with talk that makes you abandon what you are doing to emphasize your point.

3. Remember you are using puff pastry and not pie pastry, so waiting for the spaces between the egg yolk to turn a bit more golden will result in overcooked beef.

4. If your steaks have been in the freezer for a while, even if they are still good otherwise, you may want to marinate them in order to make them more tender.

5. Even when everything goes wrong and you end up eating an overcooked but otherwise good beef wellington past midnight, with the house still smelling of burnt wine, good friends can still salvage the night and make it great.

That being said, if not for the overcooked part, the wellingtons' themselves were quite good. This recipe is going on the keep pile, with a couple alterations to be tested.

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