Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Meatloaf Wellington meet your Waterloo!!

Beef Wellington is probably the most amazing meat dish from the British kitchen. I mean there are strange names for English food like Spotted Dick, Bubble and Squeak, and Steak and Kidney Pie. They all are parts of the British culinary heritage. But Beef Wellington is something special.

When I was about 19 my family took what we would later recall as our "Grand Tour" of Europe. It was a multi week trip where we went and saw the great cities and sites in Europe. And in each city we ate our way through the culinary heritage of each place the best we could. Now London was the last stop on this tour. And back then the English food world was not what it is today. In fact it was pretty lack luster with the exception of true haute British Cuisine.

It was there in London at one of the great dining rooms where I had Beef Wellington for the first time. Carved off a large piece of Filet which was on a rolling cart table side. It was a presentation I will not soon forget and a taste which to this day remains unrivaled.

So what is Beef Wellington you may ask? Well it's actually very simple. It's a preparation of the filet of beef which is quick seared and then cooled. Wrapped in a pastry dough which is stuffed with a mushroom duxelle ( finely diced cooked mushrooms) and foie gras! It's then baked to golden perfection and served warm in slices. Pretty simple and pretty decadent! The origin of said dish is unclear. It may have been named after the 1st Duke of Wellington who brought Napoleon down at the battle of Waterloo. Who is said to have loved beef, mushrooms cooked in Madeira wine and truffles as well as foie gras in puff pastry. Or is may just be the patriotic naming of the french dish which is similar "filet en croute". Or as the Two Fat Ladies describe, named for the shiny military boots of the same name, "Wellingtons", as the pastry's shiny exterior resembles the shine of the boots.

In any event I wanted to make a cheaper version for a dinner I have coming up during the holidays. So I came up with this. I love meatloaf. Especially when it's done right. So having seen this sort of thing on Pilsbury recipe boxes I thought why not just take it up a notch. So I did and here is the results. This recipe is actually very easy. It does take time because you have to prepare the meatloaf but if you don't want to buy filet that's your tradeoff! Other than that it's just cooking Mushrooms and assembling the dish. Give it a try and surprise your holiday revelers with how good meatloaf can be! Enjoy!

Meatloaf Wellington

For the Meatloaf

3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups sliced yellow onions
1 cup chopped celery very fine
3 tablespoons Madeira wine ( or sherry) plus more for sprinkling
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal
1/2 bunch Italian parsley finely chopped
1/2 bunch chives chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 eggs beaten well
2/3 cup milk
2 1/2 cups Japanese Panko breadcrumbs ground fine in food processor

Preheat oven to 350
Add butter to pan
Saute onions and celery slowly till very soft and caramelized
Add wine and reduce till absorbed
Place in a bowl and cool
Add meat and spices mix
Add eggs bread crumbs and milk and mix
On a lined baking sheet shape into a loaf
Sprinkle with wine
Place in oven and bake 45 to 50 mins.
Remove and allow to cool

For the Wellington

1 sheet puff pastry
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 6 oz package of foie gras mouse
1 pound baby portobello mushrooms diced in the food processor till fine but not mush
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons Madeira Wine or Sherry
1 teaspoon dried thyme
S and P to taste
1 egg yolk beaten

Saute Mushrooms in a pan with butter till cooked add wine and dried thyme salt and pepper to taste
Let cool
Roll out pastry till 1/4 thick on floured board
Slather the meat loaf with the mustard all over
Place the meatloaf on one side of the pastry
Spread the liver mouse over the top in a thick layer
Top with the Mushroom mixture
Fold the pastry over the meat and secure in by folding it under the meat and crimping the edges under to seal.
Carefully lift the loaf onto a baking lined and oiled sheet
Brush the pastry with the egg yolk
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 mins or until the pastry is puffed and browned
Transfer to a platter and serve with a brown sauce

Brown Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups warm beef stock
1 tablespoon Porcini Mushroom powder (optional)
1 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Madeira Wine
Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt butter and flour and cook till browned
Slowly whisk in the stock
Add spices and wine and vinegar
Season and serve


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