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Help for first ever Beef Wellington for Father's Day

My husband always wanted me to make/try beef Wellington after seeing it on Gordon Ramsey's show. And i wanted to treat him on Father's Day. I never made it before! I have 4 individual fillets in my freezer I got at costco a few weeks back. I will not be making my own puff pastry. I looked up the Gordon Ramsey recipe but it calls for prosciutto instead of pate and my husband wants to try the classic pate version. Anyway - can I just use chicken livers mashed and seasoned instead of pate? Or do I have to buy pate? How do I avoid the puff pastry bottom from getting soggy? He likes his meat rare - puff pastry takes like 35 minutes won't the steak overcook? And do you suggest a sauce?
I'm sorry for so many questions but I want to make this great for him as he has been a super extra great father lately.

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  1. I wouldn't do it the first time for a major event or occasion.

    No.
    Never.

    Did YOU NOT ever watch Hell's Kitchen?
    It's why I also call it Hell's Beef Wellington.
    Need to "boot-off" a contestant on Fox? Then BW is on the menu.
    Easy peasy.

    BW means being perfect.

    Puff pastry has its "isms"
    Your oven has its "isms"
    Cooking meat has its "isms"

    Even with the best of beef and mushroom duxelle or pate', you are staring fate in the face.

    NO.

    Practice. Even with a lesser cut of beef.

    Way too much time, effort and money for a dish so easily wrecked.

    CAN you do it? Sure.
    Not for the novice nor faint of heart though.
    Epic try may also = epic fail.

    I've got the popcorn at the ready.

    14 Replies
    1. re: jjjrfoodie

      Yikes. I kinda want to try anyway.

      1. re: Siegal

        I made it New Years for the first time, it was fine if not great. SOME people's mileage may vary but that's their loss ;-)

        I sort of made it because I had a whole filet plus a tub of fancy pate in the freezer, although I mixed in extra pureed mushrooms and sherry, so that helped. My only mistake was using the phyllo dough that was also there instead of getting any kind of puff pastry instead.

         
        1. re: coll

          This looks great! That's my goal

          1. re: Siegal

            It wasn't hard at all, I swear. Just give yourself a couple of hours, it's more time than technique. As long as you don't make your own pastry dough from scratch!

            1. re: coll

              Did you freeze the steak? If so totally frozen?

              1. re: Siegal

                No I thawed it. It doesn't cook that long to overcook it. Although not sure I saved my method, it was sort of once in a lifetime.

        2. re: Siegal

          I have made them a few times. I did not think that they were very hard to make. Most of the work is done ahead of time. I used a recipe from fine cooking. You sear the meat, wrap it and then freeze. Because it is frozen, the puff pastry gets nicely cooked while keeping the meat rare/med-rare. The only time that the bottom crust got a bit soggy was when I rolled the dough a little too thick. It was still good. The following link is with a spinach, mushroom and blue cheese filling but I do not know any reason that you could not use pate instead.

          http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/be...

          1. re: Sampanther

            Thank you Sampanther. How long did you freeze it?? You freezed it fully assembled. Correct?

            1. re: Siegal

              Yes, fully assembled. The time I made it that it was really good I froze for a day or two. You just need to freeze it long enough to get the meat frozen so it doe not overcook while the puff pastry is getting nice and brown and puffy. I told my husband that I responded to this thread because someone said it was hard and he asked me to make it for his birthday! I do understand the idea that one should not try out a new recipe for an important event but really did I not get married in order to experiment on him? He is one happy guinea pin and I his.

              1. re: Sampanther

                I did a major egg wash on mine, so the browning was more than presentable.

                1. re: Sampanther

                  Thank you so much Sampanther. I will try your method!

          2. re: jjjrfoodie

            It's not that hard, but I agree with the principle. Best not to make things a first time to feed guests, or for a special occasion.

            1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

              I definitely see your point. But I think he would appreciate the effort even if I crash and burn

              1. re: Siegal

                Ya, I suppose it is your husband and family. Also, even if this dish isn't great, it'll still probably be pretty good.

          3. Get a copy of Julia Child's "The French Chef Cookbook" and follow the recipe exactly. It works!

            3 Replies
            1. Buy the pate. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, they have a selection. If you want a sauce, I love Tyler Florence's green peppercorn sauce. I like his whole recipe, actually, but he uses prosciutto instead of pate.

              http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ty...

              It's really sweet of you to do that and I'm sure he'd love to hear that you think he's been a super extra great father. That would mean more than anything else.

              1. If you go to eGullet.com, you will find a wealth of information about preparing beef wellington (single and whole tenderloins). I'm a vegetarian, and following the advice on eGullet, I've made many successful beef wellingtons.

                1. I made it for the first time for a Christmas dinner, and it turned out fine. If you are a confident cook, can read a recipe and understand the processes, yours will be fine.

                  Don't be afraid to try different ingredients to make it your own. I don't like mushrooms, so since I was making individual Wellingtons I made my own "duxelle" substitute with onions and shallots (Mr. Shaja got the standard mushroom duxelles). I did use prosciutto, and it was okay but I thought its flavor didn't really complement the beef's and I don't think I would again.

                  1. Just a hint, the prosciutto is used so that the pastry doesn't get soggy bottom.. if you use very little salt making the duxelle, you should be okay.
                    Either make or buy pate', if you just cook up some livers and mash them, the texture will not be right... the flavor may be 'okay' but the creamy/silky texture of the pate' won't be there, instead you'll get grainy/gritty
                    (that's not good)
                    ..and I know it may be 'gilding the lilly' but I love a red wine demi glace AND a sauce bearnaise

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cgarner

                      Thanks! I think I'll do the prosciutto. Not sure about sauce as my husband hates white/cream based sauces. Maybe a peppercorn sauce

                    2. P.S. I want to also mirror the sentiment that it is such a wonderful and loving thing for you to do this for your husband!
                      warms me heart!

                      1. Such good suggestions everyone!
                        I think I will buy the pate and make the mushrooms. Sear it. Wrap in prosciutto to avoid soggy ness then pastry. Freeze for like a good hour ( do you think longer like 2 hrs to keep it rare -like bloody ) and then bake at 425 till it puffs I'm assuming 35 min. Thoughts?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Siegal

                          My SO makes individual Wellies with duxelle, spinach and blue cheese instead of pate and they are awesome. He uses store bought puff pastry. Once made, you freeze them completely (overnight at least) and cook them from completely frozen with an egg wash to make the pastry look nice. If you like blue cheese, it's the way to go - that creates your sauce.

                          http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/be...

                          1. re: akq

                            Completely frozen huh. Maybe I will do then night before

                        2. Only made BW ONE time... a millioin years ago. Dad was a BIG Frugal Gourmet fan (had all his cookbooks) and saw him make it on one of his shows.

                          Dad was also a BIG beef fan... steaks no more than medium rare ever! The recipe in JS's cookbook was VERY "simple"... no pate, no duxelles, wrapped in a basic pie dough.

                          I was maybe 18-19 yo but VERY comfortable in kitchen and thought it was be a snap, tho a FANCY one!?! Can't remember temp or time, but this big money hunka beef looked BEAUTIFUL going into oven and even BEAUTIFULLER coming out... like a picture out of a cookbook.

                          We all sit down for Sunday dinner, and he couldn't CUT through the CRUST!?! It was like PLASTER!! Luckily when we managed to almost CHISEL the crust off, the beef was PERFECT inside.

                          All this being said... maybe NOT something to go into without practice??

                          1. Special thanks to akq and Sampanther for telling me to make it from frozen. It came out medium-rare just the way we like it. I also made roasted potatoes and steak Diane sauce (a first also). Also made bruschetta appetizer served about 2 hours earlier but not pictured. OMG so full can't move. Husband one happy daddy

                             
                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Siegal

                              Looks beautiful! Congrats, I'm so happy that all turned out well (I knew it would!)

                              1. re: cgarner

                                Thank you for the prosciutto tip. Did not come out soggy at all

                              2. re: Siegal

                                Congrats!

                                It's not a recipe for the meek but tricks help.
                                I'll tackle almost any cooking task, but BW as a newbie, not so much for me.

                                You did damn good.

                                1. re: Siegal

                                  Nice job on that, it all looks great. Nailed it the first time, hell ya!!

                                  What's your recipe for the sauce?

                                  1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                    Thanks. I used this recipe from Gordon Ramsey
                                    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/go...
                                    Also made the potato recipe with thyme instead of rosemary