Christmas Dinner

Little late here, but I thought I’d post about Christmas. Beth and I got to spend our Christmas alone this year- after the craziness of a two-family Thanksgiving, it was a welcome change to have a quiet holiday. We opened a few presents- Beth got me Charcuterie, and told me that the “real present” would be letting me make the recipes- and then spent most of the rest of the day cooking.

Beth made Vanilla-Peach jam and several desserts while I made dinner. We invited her neighbor over for the meal, and I served my first-ever attempt at Beef Wellington, along with brussel sprouts and maple-glazed turnips and carrots. We served a Lost Abbey beer called 10 Commandments- a dark strong Belgian ale with rosemary, raisins and honey. For dessert, Beth showed me up with a delicious Gateau D’Liege (a Belgian sweet yeast bread with pearl sugar and raisins), a buttermilk rhubarb pound cake and a arborio rice pudding with mascarpone cream and strawberry preserves.

Beef Wellington

* 1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, chopped
* 2 shallots, chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, chopped
* 2 tsp minced fresh thyme (about 4 sprigs worth of leaves)
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter
* 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/4 cup red wine (I used a good Zinfandel)
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

* 1 beef tenderloin (about 3 lbs), trimmed
* Kitchen twine
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 12 thin slices prosciutto
* 3 tsp minced fresh thyme (about 6 sprigs of leaves)
* 2 tbsp mustard (Dijon is traditional- I used a homemade green peppercorn brown mustard)
* 1 lb puff pastry
* 2 large egg yolks, beaten
* 1/2 tsp kosher salt

The assembly sounds complicated, but it’s really not too bad. I didn’t follow this recipe, but there’s an excellent photo series showing the assembly.

Roughly chop mushrooms, shallots and garlic. Add with thyme to food processor and pulse until finely chopped (do in batches if necessary). Melt butter with olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the mushroom mixture and saute until most of the liquid has evaporated (10-15m). Add the wine and continue to heat until the liquid evaporates again. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Truss the tenderloin so it will hold its shape while cooking. Rub with olive oil, salt and pepper, and sear all sides in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat (don’t move the meat until the sear develops on each side, about 2m). Allow the meat to cool.

On a flat surface, lay out a sheet of plastic wrap large enough to completely wrap the meat. Lay the prosciutto out in an overlapping pattern (you want the surface of the meat covered, to prevent the puff pastry from getting soggy). Spread the cooled duxelles thinly and evenly over the prosciutto. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the thyme leaves. Cut the twine off the meat and rub all over with the mustard. Roll up the meat in the plastic wrap, tucking in the prosciutto over the ends and sealing the wrap. Set in the refrigerator to cool.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. Brush the entire surface with beaten egg yolk. Remove meat roll from refrigerator and cut off plastic.

Set the beef in the center of the pastry sheet and fold the sides up to the top and press to seal. Fold the ends over, trimming if necessary (try to avoid overlapping more than two layers to avoid uncooked pastry). Place roll seam side down on a baking sheet and brush the top with beaten egg yolk. Top with kosher salt. Slash the top a couple of times with a sharp knife to create steam vents, and bake for 40 minutes or until pastry is golden and beef is 125 degrees internally. Remove for oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6, depending on how thick you cut. 🙂

I served mine with a sauce I stole from my celeb-chef man crush Tyler Florence:

Green Peppercorn Sauce

* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 2 shallots, sliced
* 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
* 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
* 1 cup brandy
* 8 oz beef stock
* 2 cups cream
* 2 tbsp grainy mustard (I used homemade green peppercorn mustard)
* 1/2 cup green peppercorns in brine, drained

I added the olive oil to the pan I used to sear the beef above. Add shallots, garlic, and thyme; saute for 1 to 2 minutes, then, off heat, add brandy and flambe using a long kitchen match. After flame dies down, return to the heat, add stock and reduce by about half. Strain out solids, then add 2 cups cream and mustard. Reduce by half again, then shut off heat and add green peppercorns.



Filed under Recipes

5 responses to “Christmas Dinner

  1. Andrea Bennett

    I would love to look at your book sometime/ we should have a meat curing party. I have always been interested in that. Also maybe we could through some cheese making into it. If I had a dark cool place I would be all over the cheese making.

    • I’m totally up for cheese making / meat curing. I’ve made mozzarella before- it’s super easy. I want to make goat cheese next.

  2. Bethany

    Better get yourself a goat.

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