Beef Wellington

This elegant beef dish, called Boeuf en Croute in France, lakes a lot of preparation, but it is well trouble. Served hot

Madeira sauce and accompanied by freshly cooked broccoli and grilled tomatoes, it is an ideal main course dinner party. It also be served cold buffet dinner.I2 lb. sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

8 oz. butter, cut into

1 tablespoon pieces and chilled

8 oz. vegetable fat, cut into

1 tablespoon pieces and chilled

1 egg, lightly beaten

4 fl. oz. iced water

1 fillet of beef or

1 contrefillet, about

3 lb., with excess fat

8 oz. pate de foie gras

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 oz. butter

6 shallots, finely chopped

1 pint beef stock

5 fl. oz. plus

4 tablespoons Madeira

Preheat the oven to very hot 450 °F (Gas Mark 8, 230CC).

Sift the flour and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the butter, fat, egg and water. With a table knife mix to a firm dough, which should be lumpy.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into an oblong shape. Fold it in three and turn it so that the open edges face you. Roll again into an oblong shape and proceed as before. Repeat this once again to make three folds and turns in all.

Wrap the dough in greaseproof or waxed paper and chill in the refrigerator.

Rub the fillet of beef all over with the brandy and season it with the salt and black pepper. Cover the top of the meat with the bacon slices. Place the meat on a rack in a roasting tin and bake it in the oven for 15 minutes if you want the meat rare and 5 minutes longer for medium.

Take the meat out of the oven and remove and discard the bacon. Leave the beef to cool. When the beef-has cooled to room temperature, spread the pate over the top and sides. Lower the oven to hot 425°F (Gas Mark 7, 220°C).

On a floured board, roll the dough out into a rectangle about

18-inches long,

12-inches wide and about

1/4inch thick. Place the meat top side down on the pastry with the long sides of the meat parallel to the long sides of the pastry. Wrap the meat in the pastry to make a neat parcel, trimming off the excess pastry from the short ends. Seal the joins in the pastry with a little beaten egg and press with your fingertips to seal them. Be careful not to wrap the meat too tightly because the pastry will shrink slightly during baking.

Put the pastry trimmings to one side. Place the pastry-wrapped meat on a baking sheet seam side down. Use a knife to mark the top with a criss-cross pattern. Brush the top and sides with a little beaten egg.

Press the pastry trimmings into a ball, roll the pastry out and cut it into strips, circles, diamonds or leaf shapes with the appropriate pastry cutter. Decorate the top of the pastry-wrapped meat with them. Brush with a little beaten egg.

Bake the meat in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked.

While the meat is cooking, make the Madeira sauce. Melt

2 tablespoons butter in a medium-sized saucepan over moder-ate heat. Add the shallots to the pan and saute them for

10 minutes, or until they are golden, stirring occasionally.

Pour in the beef stock and 5 fl. oz. of Madeira, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by half.

Strain the sauce through a sieve into a bowl. Pour it back into the saucepan and bring it to a boil.

Turn off the heat and, with a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining butter. Continue to stir until the butter has melted, then stir in the remaining Madeira. Pour the hot sauce into a warmed sauceboat and serve with the meat.

When the meat is finished cooking, turn the heat off and leave the meat to rest in the oven for 15 minutes before serving.

To serve, carve the meat with a very sharp knife to minimize the pastry flaking.

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