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Serve with simple saladWhat are you making for Christmas dinner?

I’m making this.

Bigger.

The thing about great holiday meals is that we put them on this pedestal and then don’t make them ALL YEAR LONG and then we miss them.  But, frankly, some traditional holiday meals are kind of complicated and time consuming and contain expensive ingredients, so it makes sense to only eat them once a year.

Unless.

Unless, you figured out how to simplify the process so that you could enjoy fabulous wonderful fancy flavors year round without an excessive amount of work.

These little guys fit that bill perfectly!  Beef wellington has a few steps in it, and trying to wrangle a large piece of meat into floppy pastry dough can be frustrating, messy, and scary to watch.

Smaller meat is easier to handle, so that’s what we’re using here (heh).

Also, individual ANYTHING is super cute and fun and easy to serve, and this can be made anytime you’re feeling like having some pastry with your beef.

Is there ever a time where you don’t feel like having pastry with your beef?  Let me know what that’s like.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need for these guys.  I was making two, but the recipe below is for 4, in the event that you have more friends than I do.

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted for 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pint button or cremini mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs De Provence
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • coarse salt and pepper
  • 4 small filet, tenderloin, or round steaks (approx 5 oz each), 1 – 2 inches thick.
  • 4 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or bacon fat)
  • 1 scant tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock

Not too bad, huh?  These are really simple to make, and I promise they are worth every ounce of effort you put forth for them.  I like using small steaks because REALLY , you don’t need to eat 10 oz of meat wrapped in 1/4 sheet of puff pastry.  Plus, smaller steaks are easier to wrap and handle.  I promise you’ll be full at the end!

First, we’re going to make the mushroom mixture – duxelles.  We’re feeling fancy and French today, mmkay?  I don’t think they eat beef wellington in France, but that’s fine.

Put the onion, mushrooms, and garlic whole in a food processor.

Add veggies to food processor

Then, pulse them for a few seconds until very finely chopped.  You might need to scrape the sides down once or twice – just be sure all the large chunks get ground up.

Puree veggies

Then, add the duxelles to a large skillet over medium heat with the olive oil.

Add olive oil to pan

Grab the herbs de provence, and add that too!  Add a sprinkle of salt to the mushroom mixture as well.  If you don’t like a lot of herb flavor, just use 1/2 teaspoon of the herbs de provence.

Add herbs de provence

Stir the duxelles around in the pan for 7 – 10 minutes until the mushrooms have wilted and are dark in color.  The onions and garlic should be soft and translucent but not browned.  When the mushrooms are cooked through, remove the mixture to a plate until we’re ready to assemble the wellingtons.

Cook duxelles until wilted

Leave the pan on, and turn it up to medium-high heat.  We want to sear the steaks but not cook them through.  Grab your grody gray jar of bacon fat, if you’re into that kind of thing.  If not, add a tablespoon of butter to the hot pan.

Bacon fat for steaks

Coat the steaks evenly with coarse salt and pepper….

Salt and pepper steaks before searing

….and add them to the hot pan once the fat has melted.

Sear steak in same pan

Yum!   That smells great. Sear the steaks on each side for just 2 minutes or so to create a nice dark crust on the outside of the meat.  The inside should still be very raw.

Sear second side of steak

When the steaks are seared, remove them to a plate and turn the pan off, but don’t clean it or wipe it out.  Trust me. Now, let’s grab the puff pastry!  Unfold it, and cut it in half lengthwise…

Cut dough in half lengthwise

….then cut each length in half. You just made 4 pieces of pastry.  Congrats on that.

Cut dough in half again

Now we’re ready to assemble! We have our duxelles and steaks reserved, and we have our dijon all ready to serve it’s purpose.  Preheat the oven for the puff pastry – mine cooked at 425F, but use whatever your box says!  Grab a baking sheet and spray it with cooking spray too, so it’s ready for us.

Ingredients prepped for assembly

Grab a square of puff pastry, and very lightly stretch it out – just a little bit.  We aren’t flattening this or rolling it out, just softening and stretching it.

Gently stretch dough squares

Lay the pastry down, and add 1/4 of the duxelles to the middle of the pastry.  Top that with 1 tablespoon of dijon…

Squirt mustard over douxelles

….and lay one of the seared steaks over the whole mess. DayyyyyyyUM that looks good.

Place steak over douxelles

Now, gently pull each of the pastry corners over the steak to form a neat little package.  Place the wellington seam/steak side DOWN on the baking sheet, and wrap up the other steaks!

Pull first corner around steak

 

Pull second corner of pastry

 

Tuck ends together to form a pouch

Now, you could do all this in advance, keep the wellingtons in the fridge for a few hours, and bake them when you’re about ready to serve.  Just KEEP THE STEAK PAN DIRTY.  You’ve gotta trust me on this one.  When you’re ready to bake these, spray the tops with cooking spray.

Spray tops with cooking spray

Then, sprinkle the wellingtons with a bit of coarse salt, just for a nice crunch on the top of the pastry.

Sprinkle on salt before baking

Bake the pastries as directed for 15 – 20 minutes until the pastry is puffy and golden. (NOTE: while the pastries are baking, before I made the sauce, I assembled simple salads as a side so that everything was ready all at once).  After they’re about halfway cooked, let’s make the sauce!  Let’s return back to the mushroom/steak pan that’s been sitting on your stovetop looking grody for 8 hours.  This is where it all becomes worth it.  Turn the heat to medium, and add the second tablespoon of butter with just a bit of flour – we’re not going for a gravy here, just enough flour to barely thicken the wine and stock.  Whisk the flour into the butter as it melts.

Add butter and flour to steak pan

When the flour and butter are combined and smooth, pour in the wine and stock, whisking constantly.  If the liquids don’t immediately bubble, turn the heat up on the stove a bit.  Let the liquids reduce by half – we want the sauce to coat the back of a spoon but not be too thick.  Add more beef stock if you need to.

Add beef stock to wine sauce

When the sauce has reduced, taste it and add some salt and pepper if you’d like. Now, grab the pastries.  It’s time to eat!

Simmer sauce gently

Look at those!  They’re gorgeous, and you really didn’t have to work too hard.  Puff pastry is so forgiving – I love baked goods that are forgiving.

Cooked Wellingtons

These are super cute as little boules of pastry and beef and mushroom…

Boule on plate

…but it’s really pretty to cut them in half so folks know what they’re getting themselves into.  Spoon just a bit of the sauce over the top…

Slice and spoon sauce

…and we’re ready to go to town.  Seriously.  This DOES take a bit of time, but none of the steps are hard AT ALL, and you could of course use this recipe on Christmas with the whole sheet of puff pastry and one large 2lb or so piece of meat.  That would be delicious too!  Enjoy this, everyone, it tastes so special, requires no side dish except some simple greens, and you can DEFINITELY handle making it.  Trust me.

Serve with simple salad