Now that I have made beef wellington, I am to be married.
HAHAHAHAHA, gotcha. Alone forever, like Batman! I do have a nice coat, though, so that’s something. If you were waiting to see the results of the crowd-source on coats I… also gotcha, and chose none of the above. Instead I got this Burberry check blanket coat which I am pretty sure is more beautiful than God.
So, possibly that will help with the engagement thing. I mean, a cool outfit seemed to help Batman. (I’m using a black belt, because the bow threw me a little, so, even MORE like Batman).
But! A while ago a member of our man panel mentioned beef wellington as a food that will make men propose, so I wanted to make it for is birthday, because I thought that was funny (also, he is someone who runs no risk of proposing to me, nor I to him, so I figured it would just be an experiment in hilarity and not like, the beginning of a terrifying shot-gun marriage).
And then everyone said “beef wellington is hard, and you can barely cook.”
And I said. “Oh.”
So I tried to buy it, and I was pretty consistently told that it was not available until later in the season. I did not know there was beef wellington season, but maybe it is like negroni season. SO I MADE IT MYSELF.
And it really wasn’t that hard. To make beef wellington, this is what you need.
A round filet of beef, about one inch thick.
A stick of butter
Mushrooms (shitake work fine)
Pate de foie gras, or duck, or some people use liver, so, some kind of pate.
Puff pastry (you can buy it pre-made, in a box. I got Good Wives puff pastry, which worked fine).
White wine or sherry
So! That’s not that many ingredients. The first one you need to work with a steak.
Ask the man at that butcher shop to cut a filet of beef into a round an inch thick. You may or may not wish to say “very round, like a circle, like a globe of meat. But flat.” He will look at you like you’re insane, but you’ll get results.
You’re going to want to cook the steak the night before, or at least a few hours before you do the rest of the wellington. To cook it, put a pat of butter (about a tablespoon, marked on the side) in a pan. Turn on the heat. Let it melt. Then drop in the steak and cook it for two minutes on each side.
But how will you turn the steak over after 2 minutes?
They suggested some sort of tongs. I don’t have… tong stuff. But I had this thing that I think was supposed to toss salads at festive picnics I never go to so I used that.
I guess maybe buy some tongs. Or get that picnic salad thing. I have no idea where you do that. Probably don’t use your hands. Maybe use a spatula if it’s tough? In a pinch, I think a fork would work.
Once the steak is cooked on both sides, wrap it in plastic or stick it in a plastic bag. It’s going to ooze steak juice that looks like blood and get real gross.
If you have any friends who raid your fridge (because you live in a sitcom?) this is a good time to invite them over, grip a copy of Silence of the Lambs or American Psycho (your choice, since I forgot to add this in the ingredient list) and just as they open the door of the fridge whisper “I have a terrible secret to share with you.”
On the downside, they might turn you into the police, so maybe do not do that.
Leave the steak for a few hours, or overnight.
Next you’re going to make mushroom duxelles. Again, not as hard as you might think.
Before you do this, however, take the puff pastry out of the fridge and let it thaw a bit. It will make it much easier to work with later. Also heat the oven to 400 degrees.
First finely chop up a half pound of mushrooms (around a cup’s worth). You’re also going to want to chop up about two tablespoons of shallots. If you can’t find a shallot, a green onion will work.
They’ll look like this.
Then you’re going to toss a tablespoon of butter in a pan. Then pour in the mushroom/shallot mix and stir gently. Add salt and pepper for taste. When it seems like the butter is almost evaporated add two more tablespoons of butter.
I am going to be honest: this is going to take approximately as long as it would take you to birth a child. At least on low heat. I heard low heat was best. Maybe you can crank it up and it takes five minutes. As it is, it takes about half and hour for all the butter to burn off.
And then, when it is finally almost gone you should add 1/4 a cup of sherry.
Christ. Longer than it takes to birth an entire football team.
At some point, while you’re doing that, you might want to start preparing the steak.
First, unroll the puff pasty and put it on a clean flat service. Then, unroll it and divide it in two (the kind I got was perforated, so I just cut along the line, but guess, attempt to cut it in the middle? Take one half and cut it into four squares. Later you will want to divide those 4 squares into 8 triangles, but not yet.
Take the steak out of its bloody little Hannibal Lecter bag. Put it on the larger puff pastry square.
If you are doing this while waiting for the mushroom duxelles you should look over at it, and think about how they are taking for fucking ever. Stir them.
Then you’re going to want to coat your meat with the pate. It’s essentially like icing a cake. A cake made out of meat.
So. You still have like, a million (35?) minutes to go on the mushroom duxelles because it is a nightmare hell food. You may want to take some of the eggs and mushrooms and pate and make yourself bonus food. If you have some cheese around you can make an omelet! And use another pan to cook the leftover mushrooms! And put the pate on some toast!
Some call it bonus food, some call it dinner. Either way, it was delicious. Here. This is for you. Just for you.
Stir the mushrooms again. Put that food in your belly.
By now, all the liquid in the mushroom pan should have evaporated. Dump the mushrooms onto a paper towel and let them dry. Wait a few minutes. I don’t know what you should do during those minutes. Just stare, maybe.
Then, plop the mushrooms on top of the pate. You’re almost done!
Then fold the corners of the puff pasty in towards the center of the meat cake. Smush them in real good. Don’t worry about making it look pretty. Then, if you want to make it attractive, cut the four squares into triangles. Overlap them atop the meat cake.
IT IS GLORIOUS.
Take out an egg. Crack it into a bowl as stir. Take a brush (if you do not have one, I have used a make-up brush in the past and while not ideal, it worked fine) and brush the egg over the wellington, so it comes out looking bronzed and beautiful.
Now put it in your oven for 30 minutes. Then take it out. And then everyone will love you forever. I think that is how these foods that are supposed to be magic, work, anyway.
Also, you’re going to have a lot of leftover pate, so you can love yourself and eat that.