Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Years Eve Dinner: Beef Wellington

Special Occasion Dinner Alert!  This would be a perfect Anniversary Dinner or Valentine's Day Dinner.  On Sunday of last week, I prepped this meal of my mom's Leek Soup, Individual Beef Wellingtons with Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin and Maple Glazed Salmon.  After everything was all ready, we headed down to the South Shore to see our friends Stef and Mike's new house and celebrate the New Year together.
All I had to do was cook the Wellingtons, Salmon and reheat the Gratin before dinner.  None of my photos are that fabulous because, well, I was so excited to eat!

Let's start with the showpiece recipe: Individual Beef Wellingtons.  I took inspiration from many different sources- Simply Recipes, Ella Says Opa, and Tyler Florence.  In the end I combined high quality filet mignon, sauteed delicious portobello and shiitake mushrooms, prosciutto and dijon mustard and wrapped it in a flaky puff pastry and cooked it to a perfect medium rare.  The flavors were so well balanced it didn't need a sauce!

Individual Beef Wellington Recipe
4 Filet Mignon
Salt and pepper
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb mushrooms (we used half portobello mushrooms, half shiitake)
4 thin slices prosciutto
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
7 ounces puff pastry (needs 3 hours to defrost in refrigerator if using frozen)
2 egg yolks, beaten
Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large pan on high heat. Season the fillet generously with salt and pepper. Sear the fillet in the pan on all sides until well browned. Remove the fillet from the pan and let cool. Once cooled, brush the fillet on all sides with mustard. Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Cook the mushrooms and onions until soft and onion is opaque. Transfer mixture to food processor and pulse a few times. Roll out your puff pastry.  Cut 4 sheets big enough to cover the filets. 

Lay the prosciutto on the pastry.  Place the beef in the middle.  Add the mushroom mixture on top. 
Wrap up the beef securely.  You can use plastic wrap to make sure it stays in a tight shape but I didn't do that. Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten eggs. Chill for awhile before baking. Place the pastry-wrapped fillet on a baking pan. Brush the pastry again with beaten eggs. Bake for 25-35 minutes. The pastry should be nicely golden when done. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 
 The other dish I made was a Maple Salmon which is so simple to make.

Maple Salmon
1 pound salmon
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Marinate the salmon in the maple and soy for 20 minutes. Cook the salmon in a preheated oven set to broil for 5-10 minutes. (Pour some of the marinade over the salmon several times while cooking.)

And the last dish I made was Smitten Kitchen's Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin.  Over the last couple years, I've made this dish many many times.
I loved using Smoked Gruyere cheese.  It made this vegetarian dish taste like there was some bacon in it!  This has a bunch of steps, but its totally worth it in the end.
Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin
1/2 stick of butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 pounds of swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and both cut very finely
2 cups of half and half
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds
dried parsley and thyme
salt and pepper
1 1/3 cups of grated Smoked Gruyere Cheese
Cook onion in 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan or pot.  Add the chard stems and salt and pepper. Increase heat and add chard leaves by the handfuls. Season with salt and pepper then transfer to a colander and drain well.  To make the sauce, combine half and half and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Melt two tablespoons of butter in another saucepan and stir in flour.  Cook roux, whisking  then slowly whisk in warm cream and boil.  Season with salt and pepper. 
Then assemble gratin by first preheating oven to 400.  Spread sweet potatoes in the baking dish and a handful of the cheese. 
Spread the greens over the mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper and then pour the béchamel sauce over. 
Repeat 1-2 more times and sprinkle the remaining quarter cup of the cheese.  Bake gratin for around an hour.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  

 And that was our New Years Dinner!
What's your go-to special occasion meal?


  1. The beef Wellingtons look great! I have been wanting to try making that for a while. Maybe the next special occasion!

  2. I've never made beef wellington and I don't think I realized it had anything else inside the pastry besides, well, beef. These sound excellent! Love it paired with the salmon and my favorite veggie too :)

  3. What a meal! I'm so impressed your beef wellingtons look perfectly cooked - I've been meaning to try making them for awhile now. Congrats on finding out you're having a little boy too, so exciting!!

  4. wow, i had no idea what beef wellington was besides beef in pastry, but holy moly that looks and sounds delicious!! what a feast :) and i was looking at the sweet potato and kale gratin the other day... might need to make it now!

  5. Love the look of the gratin!! I must say, I've never had beef wellington. But these look incredible and yours look absolutely perfectly cooked.

  6. smoked Gruyere is one of my fave cheeses!!! this all looks amazing!

  7. bah! ive been wanting to try swiss chard for a while! looks like a delish way to get into it!!