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post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hey Guys,

Making a big dinner for my sister tomorrow. Planning on making salad with a basic balsamic vinaigrette, then comes the hard part of making a Beef Wellington, that I've never tried on making, I'm looking for a good recipe, planning on using Ramsay's wellington recipe, but is there anything better out there? Or if Ramsay's is pretty good, any tips on how to change it for the better, from what I've seen I should leave out the prosciutto and add some foie gras? Then I'm also making a chocolate cheesecake in the morning, have a great recipe from Nigella Lawson. Does this sound like a pretty good meal to you guys? Anything I should know about cooking these things that I probably don't (I've made the cheesecake before, and the vinaigrette is really easy).



post #2 of 7
Originally Posted by Zoui21 View Post
...and the vinaigrette is really easy

The dressing is not the star of the show, it should be the greens.  What were you thinking?


There's a thread already on Beef Wellington so you should check that out for tips.  It sounds like you need more side dishes, how about some boiled new potatoes tossed with fresh olive oil and herbs?  Roasted veggies?


You could go seasonal with the dessert.  Chocolate is nice but what about some baked stuffed apples or a pumpkin cheesecake instead?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #3 of 7

Great looking menu.


You can leave out the "parma" if you like, but it looks like a pretty good idea to me.  Don't be confused by someone (me) saying that it wasn't traditional.  Traditionally Beef Wellington was made badly. 


I think the ham will (a) taste good, and (b) make the crust/meat interface a lot better.  You could also use guanciale or spec.  Caul fat sure wouldn't hurt, and in the back of what passes for my mind there's a little bell identifying a caul netting as "traditional."  Could be wrong.


Pork or no pork, you want to control the salt balance.


With Wellington you want to focus on a good sauce, whether "jus" type sauce, bordelaise, marchand du vin, Perigeaux, or whatever.  It isn't the done thing to serve it naked.  That makes things a little more complicated, non?


As in the other thread, I think you're better of doing your fillets without a crust.  If you absolutely, positively must go retro, how about Steak Diane?  Or, (again) my recipe for steak with a pan sauce?


The nice thing about a Wellington is that it gives you some leeway to prep in advance (especially if you're making them as individual portions), and let it cook while you serve and eat the preceding course.  The other preparations require you to interrupt dinner to cook.  But cooking fillet with a pan sauce is so quick and easy (as long as your mise en place is ready to go), you'll look like a champ.


On the other, other, other hand:  You want a supportive audience the first time you make something as technique intensive as a Wellington.  If your sister cuts you a lot of slack she might be the ideal guinea pig candidate.  If dinner includes other guests... think, then think again. 


Important dinners should always be in your wheelhouse, and dinners for important occasions should be simple enough for the hostess to enjoy them as well.


About the vinaigrette, people tend not to use enough oil.  And don't skimp on quality, either.  Make sure you go at least 3 parts excellent extra virgin olive oil, to 1 part good balsamic.  A little bit of dry or prepared mustard (dijon and "creole" both work well, fine ground or whole grain) help the emulsion form.  If you use enough mustard to actually taste it, consider adding a little honey also.  Vinaigrettes with sherry vinegar are very popular now, btw.  Just thinking aloud, I think I'd tend towards sherry vinegar its more straightforward nature. 



Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/5/11 at 8:21am
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

I was thinking that for the salad I would probably do arugula and diced tomatoes with the vinaigrette. Agreed with BDL about not sparing any olive oil, I'm thinking maybe a good red wine/balsamic vinegar? But the real trick in my book is around a Tbsp of minced garlic, garlic makes everything better. Going to look for some Dijon when I run out to the store in a bit.


As I said before, I've never tried making Wellington, I could even take that further that I've never even had Wellington, so I have no idea how it's good, and how it isn't. So parma should give it some good saltiness then, but how about the Duxelle, anyway I can sub it out/make it without a blender, I noticed on Gordon's video that it's really minced, to a degree I don't think I can do with my knife skills. Can I just use foie gras instead?


Sauce is a great idea IMO, but I just have no idea what will go with it best? I'm thinking marchand du vin, as proposed by you. The fact that it makes things more complicated is no issue, I basically thought of the hardest dish I could make, so you could say my sister is my guinea pig ;) I think she'll be alright with my Wellington unless something goes horribly wrong. :/

By the way, I'd love to try your recipe sometime, but my sister's husband already bought a nice tenderloin, which I'm basically forced to use just because I go back to boarding school Monday morning. I was thinking of making one Wellington for the three of us, but then I read over the idea of individual ones, which sounds great, anything I should do different in preparation other than making 3 different pastries, and as for when you cover it in mustard (should I use normal English mustard?), then do I give it another sear?


As the cheesecake goes, I think I'm sticking with it, but I might try to make a good pumpkin pie tomorrow, any secret tricks for it welcome as well. Weekends are the only time I have access to an actual kitchen, in boarding school, food is much worse than you'd expect, I actually brought a second suitcase filled with can soup, just because I'm not sure they know how to cook anything other than chicken there. By the way, what do you guys think? Graham cracker crust or digestive biscuits (living in the UK, so biscuits might be more accessible)? Never made it with biscuits before though crazy.gif.


Thanks for the replies,


post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

So I made it, and apparently it's pretty good considering I'm 15. Cheesecake is currently in the oven, but it'll only be ready by tomorrow, so I guess we now know whats for dessert tomorrow. :) Have pics of the main dish today, I made one big wellington and one individual wellington (which turned out to be the better wellington, props to everyone for the idea). I messed up the big Wellington when I cut it because everything didn't bond too well because of the ham, even though it was a very good addition. So basically my first wellington experience went pretty well, and next time I make them I know I need to make individual wellingtons and a) make the parma bond the beef and puff pastry better or b) don't use parma ham and add a little extra salt. The duxelle was great because I found a food processor and some fresh thyme at my sisters. A little white wine and it was perfect


This was the individual one, the better one in my opinion. Had it with a side of arugula and tomato salad with a perfect vinaigrette.



And this was a piece of the whole wellington, which had better salt distribution, but fell apart when I cut it :(

This one doesn't look too pretty




By the way, thanks BDL for the idea of the red wine reduction, in my sister's opinion, it was the extra kick that brought the wellington over the top. My first time making a red wine reduction, and it was great.


Now I need to try an acclaimed wellington to see if I compare


Will post pics of the Cheesecake tomorrow if anyone is interested.


Hope this looks like a good attempt,



post #6 of 7

Congratulations, glad that it went well.  Kudos for a 15yr old. 


Here's a tip about garlic in salad.  1 whole Tbsp is too much and I hope you didn't use the stuff in a jar.  That much raw garlic in a salad will certainly kill your palate for the next course.  When I want to add a little garlic in my salad dressing I grate some on my microplane zester. If you don't have one ask for one for your next present. http://us.microplane.com/microplaneclassicserieszestergrater.aspx  And remember, a little garlic if it's finely minced will go a long way. 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Not a bad trick, yea, I've used it before, but mostly only if I needed very finely grated cheese/zest a citrus. Will try that next time, but telly you the truth, the garlic was not overpowering, I did mince it pretty well though if I do say so myself (I used fresh garlic, not the stuff in a jar). It may have been more of a teaspoon than a Tbsp though, but it worked out pretty good in proportion to the amount of oil and balsamic


PS. Here's the chocolate cheesecake, just had a piece for lunch, pretty delicious. :D It cracked a bit so I covered it up with some berries, I think some whipped cream would have been nice, but I didn't have it anywhere close.



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