Ode to a Daydream Fantasy

Today is National Eat What You Want Day. In the past we’ve talked about eating what you want without guilt or counting calories – a freebie junk food day. While that’s all well and good, it got me to thinking . . .

What if, instead of cheating on a diet or eating something forbidden (whatever that might be) we could sit down to a perfectly executed meal? What would that meal be? Foie Gras? Yeah, that’s something forbidden. I haven’t had the pleasure in years. Here in California, Foie Gras was banned outright for a while. It’s still banned in a strange way. Foie Gras cannot be produced within the state, but can be brought in by third parties, so long as it is not resold. So if a restaurant orders Foie Gras, the chef can prepare it and present it to customers as a gift. However Foie Gras cannot appear on the menu as an item offered for sale. Does that make sense?

Wow – didn’t mean to go off on that little journey into the abyss of the absurd. Laws should be cut and dry, clear. This one isn’t.

Back on track. With today’s ever rising prices, gourmet foods are a luxury. By luxury, I don’t mean just Filet Mignon wrapped in a puff pastry, even a New York Strip can a bit pricy these days. Lord knows, Ribeye steaks are off my menu plans right now. So Filet Mignon is definitely in the fantasy category. Today is National Eat What You Want Day. And what I want is the fantasy of Beef Wellington.

Individual Beef Wellingtons
Mushroom Duxelles
8 oz White Button Mushrooms
1 Shallot
2 Garlic Cloves
2 teaspoons fresh Thyme Leaves
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Kosher Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste

Note: While preparing the Mushroom Duxelles, allow the filets to come to room temperature on the counter.

Wash, trim and roughly chop the mushrooms, place in the bowl of a food processor. Peel and roughly chop the shallot, add to the mushrooms. Peel and quarter garlic, add to the mushroom mixture. Pluck the thyme leaves from the sprigs, scatter over the mushrooms. Pulse several times until the mixture is finely chopped.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter with the olive oil. Add the mushroom mixture, cook until lightly browned and all liquid the mushrooms have rendered has completely evaporated. Season to taste with salt and a pinch or so of white pepper. Set aside to cool.

Beef Wellington
1 sheet Puff Pastry Dough
4 (1-3/4 inch thick) Filet Mignons
Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Water

Note: The cut of the filet matters. If possible, ask the butcher to cut from the center of the tenderloin. Also the size should be uniform for even cooking.

Allow frozen puff pastry dough to thaw as directed on package. When ready, heat the oven to 425-degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, set aside.

Season the filets generously on both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the filets, sear 1 minute per side. Turn each filet on its side, sear just long enough to lightly brown the edges, about a 1 minute longer. Transfer filets to a plate and allow to cool for 5 minutes

To Assemble: Top each filet with a quarter of Duxelles. Smooth the mushrooms to the very edges of the filets.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pasty dough into a 10-inch square. Cut the pastry into quarters. Working with one filet at a time, center the pastry over the filet. Carefully turn the filet upside down and gently stretch the pastry around the meat so it covers the bottom. Pinch the dough together as needed to completely seal the filet inside. Turn right-side up, place on the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining filets.

In a small bowl, beat egg with water to create an egg wash. Brush the tops and sides of the pastry with the wash.

To Bake: Place Wellingtons in the oven, bake until the pastry is golden brown and the meat has reached an internal temperature of 125-degrees for rare, about 14 minutes or 135-degrees for medium rare, about 16 minutes.

Remove from oven. Allow the Wellingtons to rest for 10 minutes before plating.

Here are a few side ideas for your consideration:

Steamed New Potatoes with Lemon Zest
2 lbs small New Potatoes or Red Potatoes
2 tablespoons Curly Parsley
2 tablespoons Fresh Dill
1 Lemon, zest only
Olive Oil as needed
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Cut potatoes in half and place in a steaming basket over a pot of gently boiling water. Cover and steam until tender when pierced with a skewer, 20 to 25 minutes, depending on size.

In a small bowl, combine minced parsley, dill, and lemon zest.

Spread steamed potatoes out on a rimmed baking pan. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle herb-zest mixture over the potatoes and stir to coat well. Transfer to a warm serving bowl and enjoy piping hot.

Sautéed Green Beans
2 lbs fresh Green Beans
2 Garlic Cloves finely minced
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 tablespoon Butter
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Trim end from green beans. If bean are long, cut in half to create uniformed green beans about 3-1/2 inches in length. Set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, once hot add the minced garlic. Sauté until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 30 seconds. Add the green beans and stock to the pan, stir to combine. Increase to medium-high heat. Cover and cook until the beans are crisp-tender and bright green, about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and stir the beans until the liquid has evaporated, just a few minutes longer. Once the pan is nearly dry, add the butter and sauté until melted and combined with the beans, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Taste the finished green beans, season with salt as desired. Sprinkle beans with black pepper, stir to combine.

Transfer to a serving platter and enjoy.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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