Thursday, August 18, 2011

Student Food: Beef Wellington?!

I've done it. I'm a genius. I deserve a medal. And a million dollars. Or, at least to have my student loan paid off... But then again, that's kinda the same thing as a million dollars anyway... (not to blow my own trumpet, or anything... I am, of course very, very modest - I take after my mother!)

"My gosh!" you say... "What has she done?!" you ask...

Well. Well. I've taken that gorgeous, delicious, expensive Beef Wellington and made it affordable! Without losing any of the taste!!! (Yes. Three exclamation marks are necessary...)

The issue behind real Beef Wellington, by and large is that beautiful, expensive cut of beef fillet... Ouch! Here, I've replaced it with Bolar Beef. Now, because Bolar Beef has a reputation of being somewhat temperamental: sometimes tender, sometimes tough - I cooked it all the way through in a low oven before wrapping it in pastry. This resulted in a slightly drier Beef Wellington than truly ideal - but the theory now is: trade rump for bolar and cook as per normal, should be fine! :) Yum!

Joshee's: with hassel backed potatoes and carrots...
and from the inside:

Mine: with steamed broccoli and cauliflower...
Not super juicy, but real tender and tasty!

Read on for the revolutionary recipe.... :)


Here, I only had bolar (blade) roast - which I cut a 350g steak from. Because bolar has a reputation of sometimes coming out tough - I marinaded it in the juice of two lemons, a tsp of olive oil, salt and pepper for an hour a side - hoping that the acid in the lemon juice would break down some of the fibres while the oil would stop the meat from drying out too much... If you're using rump steak, or another, more tender mean you can leave that bit out...

If using Bolar Beef:

Bake your beef, SLOWLY for 45ish minutes @ 150 degrees while wrapped in foil - this'll make your Beef Wellington a little dryer than strictly desirable (unless you like your meat well done, in which case it'll be just the same as normal....) but it should also make it somewhat more tender than partially or fast baked Bolar.

If using not Bolar Beef:

Before browning the meat I  like to rub a little more olive oil, salt and pepper into each side - just to add flavour.

Brown the meat on all sides over LOW heat. You are only browning the beef NOT cooking it - so don't leave it on the heat for too long! Once all sides of the steak are browned wrap it in foil and leave it to cool before shrouding in pate, mushrooms and pastry...

The purpose of browning the meat first is not only to add flavour but also to prevent it from leaking onto the pastry later.


10g butter
1 tsp oil

1/2 a tiny onion (or shallot, I guess...) diced as fine as you can
3 cloves garlic, minced or very finely diced

80g mushrooms - chopped into the finest dice you can manage
1 tsp dried, mixed herbs

2 Tbsp milk

Melt the butter in a frying pan with the teaspoon of oil over LOW heat...

Briefly fry the onion and garlic until fragrant before adding the finely chopped 'shrooms. When cooking the mushrooms you may notice that they soak up all the butter pretty quickly - keep stirin' 'em over low until they release the butter again and begin to brown. At this point add the dried herbs.

Continue to fry the mushrooms/onions etc until the pan starts to dry out a little - now pour in the two tablespoons of milk. Cook until as much of the milk has evapourated as you think will happen and the mixture is a dry-ish paste.

I tip mine out of the frying pan and into a sieve over a bowl - just in case there's anymore liquid to drip off...


(I would advise against cooking these in a bowed pan - it makes life very difficult)

1/4 cup flour
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp oil

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl and allow to sit for and hour or so. The mix will be fairly liquid - but it will thicken over time.

Once rested fry 1/2 of the mix at a time in a non-stick frying pan until cooked through on both sides. Set aside to cool.


I borrowed some homemade pate from a flatmate - she loosely followed this recipe for Chicken Liver Pate from this month's Foodtown Magazine.


Again, I used shop bought pastry - because that's what I had!

Final Assembly:

Cut cooked steak into two. Also, cut pre-rolled pastry square into two.

Butter, egg or water the edges of your pastry with whatever you have handy...

Lay your pancakes on each of the pastry pieces and cut to fit.

Spread half of the pate and half of the duxelles over each of the pastry/pancake halves.

Plonk steak pieces in the middle and wrap pastry over it sealing all edges/gaps... Place on a cookie rack on a baking tray - seam side down. Make slits half-way through the pastry (purely aesthetical) and brush with egg or butter or milk...

Bake @ 220 for 20-30 minutes, until pastry is golden and crispy.

Serve with hassle-backed potatoes/carrots for carb-eating boys and steamed broc/cauli for non-carb eating Kats...

Make part of your regular diet - because "cheaper" must mean calorie free, right?

So, so good!