Tag Archives: dinner

Beef Wellington – Anything in Puff Pastry is Good

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Beef Wellington is one of those dishes that tends to intimidate most people. It is one of Gordon Ramsey’s signature dishes. These little beef Wellingtons are much easier to make than the large ones. They also look incredibly elegant and are perfect for a dinner party. They can be made ahead of time and then just baked in the oven before serving. I like to use President Choice Puff Pastry. It’s super convenient as it’s already rolled out so that it requires less work. The traditional Beef Wellington is made with liver paté, but given the many liver haters I know, I make these without. Feel free to add a tablespoon of liver paté with the duxelle (mushroom mixture), if you wish. Some people also choose to wrap the beef in prosciutto in order to ensure that the pastry does not become soggy, however I find that if you dry the beef before and after you sear it, the pastry does not get soggy. This is a dish that came to popularity in the sixties, so don your best black sheath, black pumps, pearls and enjoy Sham Style!

Serves 4



12 cremini mushrooms, stems removed, very finely chopped (I chop mine in my Cuisinart mini food processor)

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp chopped, fresh thyme

1 shallot very finely chopped

For Wellingtons:

1 tbsp grape seed oil

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper

4 tbsp Boursin (divided)

1 sheet puff pastry

4 beef tenderloins (1 ½ ” thick)

1 egg

1 tbsp water

Mushroom Sauce:

½ cup red wine

½ cup beef stock/broth (low sodium)

1 sprig of thyme


Removes the stems from the mushrooms and finely chop. I do mine in the food processor. Your mushrooms should look like this:

Squeeze the chopped mushrooms in a paper towel to remove any moisture. Add mushrooms, salt, thyme and shallots to a sauté pan. Sauté on medium-high until all of the moisture from the mushrooms has been evaporated – this really important as you want your puff pastry to be crispy, not soggy. Allow duxelle to cool.

Meanwhile, pat the filets until completely dry, rub beef filets with grape seed oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron pan on high until a drop of oil sizzles. Add filets and brown on all sides for no more than 4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Deglaze the pan with the wine until it becomes syrupy. Add beef stock and any left-over duxelle. Add the sprig of thyme. Reduce the mixture on medium-low until much of the liquid has evaporated. Remove sprig of thyme before serving.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry sheet until it is 1/8″ thick. With knife remove excess pastry so that you have an even rectangle. Save scrap pieces. Divide into 4 squares. On each square put a heaping tsp of the duxelle (mushroom mixture). Top with a teaspoon full of boursin.

Remove string from beef (this is really important – I always forget to do this and am running around the table with scissors during dinner removing the string from my guests’ wellingtons), pat the beef dry again and place on top of the duxelle cheese mixture. Pull pastry around the beef and pinch pastry to ensure that it is completely sealed. Remove any excess pastry. Gently turn over and score with a sharp knife. Repeat with remaining filets and pastry squares.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Wisk egg in a small bowl and add the water. Wisk to combine. With a pastry brush, brush the beef wellingtons with the egg wash. Use any left-over puff pastry and cut out leaves, letters or whatever you want to use to decorate the wellingtons. Affix to the wellingtons and brush again with egg wash. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Refrigerate the wellingtons for 10 minutes. Roast in oven – 15 minutes for medium-rare, 18 minutes for medium and 22 minutes for medium-well. You can also use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. 120 degrees for medium-rare, 130 degrees for medium, 140 for medium-well.

To plate, put a little of the mushroom mixture on the plate in a circle. Top with beef wellington. Artfully arrange with sautéed beans and Parisian potatoes.

Written on my Microsoft Surface RT with purple backlit keyboard

All pictures taken with my Nokia Lumia 1020 Camera Phone

Tastes from Sunny Italy on a Gloomy Fall Day (Osso Buco, Risotto)

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It’s a typically gloomy November day…. rainy, damp, cool.  The perfect kind of day to bring the sunny tastes of Italy to the table: Osso Buco Milanese, Saffron Risotto, Gremolata.


I personally don’t like my Osco Buco too “tomato-y”.  I want the flavors of the gremolata to jump and I don’t like overwhelming the delicate flavor of the Saffron Risotto.  This recipe using tomato paste and a touch of Crème Fraiche to provide a delicate, light flavor.  I also add a touch of anchovy paste for umami – don’t worry, there is nothing fishy about this dish. – Make it Sham Style!

Osso Buco

4 – 6 veal shanks

1 tbsp grape seed oil

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 large carrot finely chopped (or 2 smaller ones)

1 stalk of celery finely chopped

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 tbsp of anchovy paste

2 tbsp of tomato paste

2 sprigs of rosemary

4 sprigs of thyme

2 cloves of garlic

2 cups of veal or low sodium chicken stock

1 bottle of dry white wine

1/4 crème fraiche

1 package baby spinach wilted

Equipment: Cast Enamel Dutch Oven, cheese cloth

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.  On a plate, mix the salt, pepper and paprika.  Dry veal shanks with paper towel. Season the veal shanks with the salt and pepper mixture.  Heat Grape Seed Oil in a 10 inch cast iron Dutch oven over high heat until it glistens.  Sear the veal shanks until they have turned golden brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate.  Add chopped carrots, celery and onion and lower the heat to med-low.  Cook until onions and celery are translucent.  Turn heat to medium and add anchovy paste and the tomato paste.  Stir continuously until any liquid is evaporated.

Turn up heat to high and add wine.  Heat until wine starts to bubble.  Add chicken/veal stock.  Bring to a simmer.  Cut a square pièce of cheese cloth and create a bouquet garni with the rosemary, thyme and garlic.  Add the bouquet garni to the liquid.   Add veal shanks and any accumulated juices back to the Dutch oven.  Bring to a simmer, put the lid on and move to the pre-heated oven.  Cook for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  If the liquid evaporates too much, add 1/2 more chicken/veal stock.  Meanwhile, prepare Risotto (see recipe below).   Remove Osso Buco from the oven.  Gently remove veal shanks and place on aluminum foil, add a 1/4 cup of juices and wrap tightly.  Remove bouquet garni.  Simmer the sauce in the dutch oven on the stove while Risotto cooks in the oven.  When Risotto is ready, add the crème fraiche to the sauce and stir thoroughly. Add veal shanks to dutch oven, turn temperature to medium and heat through.  Serve with risotto and gremolata (see recipes below).


2 tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped finely

1 1/4 cups Arborio rice

1 cup dry white wine

2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 tbsp. saffron threads

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Add olive oil to a 13 inch skillet and heat on medium high until the oil shimmers.  Add onion and sauté until translucent.  Add rice and sauté until the rice is translucent and no longer white.  Turn the temperature to high and add wine.  Simmer for 6-8 minutes until wine is partially evaporated.  Add the saffron, salt and pepper.  Add the 2 1/4 cups of the chicken/vegetable stock and simmer for an additional 8 minutes.  Remove pan from heat, add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate.  Pour the risotto into an oven safe casserole dish.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Set aside.  Once the Osco Buco has been removed from the oven, increase the temperature to 375 degrees.  Cook the risotto in the oven for 30-35 minutes.  Add remaining chicken/vegetable stock and parmesan cheese right before serving.


1 clove garlic

3 tbsp very finely chopped parsley

1 tbsp lemon zest

2 tsp orange zest

1/4 tsp sea salt

Using a mortar and pestle, crush garlic until it is a paste.  Remove to bowl and gently stir in all of the other ingredients.  Serve on top of Osco Buco.

To Plate:

Wilt spinach in sauté pan.

Place wilted spinach in a round on a plate.  Top with a mound of risotto and shape.  Gently place a veal shank on top of the risotto.  Gently pour some sauce over top and sprinkle with gremolata.

Enjoy with lots of red wine!

Recipes written and tested by Suzanne Battiston

Created on my Microsoft Surface RT with the purple backlit keyboard.