Well, it's been over a month. We've shared close to 35 recipes with you now and have had ONE THOUSAND page views (no lie!) and have learned quite a bit about cooking. So, this week when I was browsing my cookbooks for ideas, I came across the marked page. Now was the time. I was ready for this particular challenge. Tonight I tackled the recipe that had been haunting - NO! - mocking me since day one.
Bring it on.
The Recipe: Ground Beef Wellington
Original Recipe Found In: Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (The link that I usually post is dead tonight, hopefully due to too many people buying the book!)
What You'll Need:
1 X Medium Onion
1 X Carrot
1 X Potato
2 X Cloves Of Garlic
4 X Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
1 Handful Of Frozen Peas
1 X Large Egg
2 X Sheets Puff Pastry
1 Lb. Ground Beef
The Recipe: Honey Roasted Carrots
Original Recipe Found In: Jamie Magazine, June/July 2010 Issue
What You'll Need:
1 Lb Large Carrots or 1 Bag Baby Carrots
3 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Honey
1.5 Oz. Water
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Peel and chop the carrots, onion and potatoes. Make sure to chop everything into as small of pieces as possible. This will help you out a lot later on. Next, place your veggies in a large frying pan and add two 'lugs' of olive oil. Add your rosemary now as well. Cook the veggies for about 8 to 10 minutes, then add a handful of frozen peas.
I tossed in an extra carrot at the last moment
Fryin' the veggies
I mentioned yesterday that I've never liked peas. I don't like the flavor, I don't like the texture and frankly, I'm not fond of the color either. They are, in my opinion, an all around terrible vegetable (and I'm convinced they may be poisonous) While looking over the ingredients for the beef wellington, I noticed 'frozen peas' and immediately thought "omit". Then I started thinking. Since Maggie and I have started this new way of cooking, things have changed. We can no longer eat any kind of fast food - our bodies just 'reject' things that are too poor in quality or overly greasy. We now can taste the preservatives in other foods as well. Things that have been prepackaged and frozen have a very different (read: gross) flavor in comparison to something we've made fresh. Lastly, our taste buds' preferences have changed. Foods (mainly veggies) that I never used to care for, I'm finding myself enjoying. The best example of this was last week - with my fruit salad recipe. I included fresh grapes, something that I never really enjoyed growing up. However, after returning to them last week I've found that I now LOVE grapes. They were absolutely fantastic and - honestly, I wish I had some right now...
My (long and drawn out) point is this - if my taste preferences are changing, maybe I SHOULD put peas in this recipe. Maybe, just maybe, I'll find I actually like the little green beasts. So, after much deliberation, peas have been included in my beef wellington recipe.
You better not be deadly...
Once all of your veggies are starting to brown up - pour them into a large bowl and set aside to cool. While that is cooling, you can begin to prepare your dough. Take the two sheets of puff pastry and lay them on top of each other. Lightly dust the countertop and the rolling pin with flour and squish the sheets down into a 12 X16 rectangle. (I didn't really measure here - I just rolled until it the pastry became thin and said 'eh, close enough!')
A pinch of flour on the countertop
And on the rolling pin make your life a lot easier
Next, crack your egg into a bowl and mix well with a fork. By now, your veggies should have cooled to the point where you can handle them safely without burning your hands. Add your ground beef into the bowl with the veggies. Pour in 1/2 of the egg as well. Now, using your hands, mix everything up really well in the large bowl. This is very similar to the cracking burger recipe. Get in there and get messy (and you WILL get very, very messy) the better mixed up everything is, the better your end result will be.
Mixing in all up
(Here is where chopping your veggies into smaller pieces will help you. To help me this evening, Maggie chopped the potatoes, carrot and onion before I got off of work. However, we found out that they weren't chopped small enough when I started mixing everything by hand. The potatoes were large enough that they were interfering with everything mixing together. This adds extra time and effort into mixing everything together. Learn from our experience and avoid the hassle by chopping everything up into tiny bits)
When everything is mixed, turn your attention to the (now flattened) puff pastry. With the longer edge facing you, spread out the mixture (as pictured below) along the dough. Once everything is dispersed, begin to roll everything up like a large taco shell. This part is a little tricky - just work slowly and make sure everything stays together and you will be alright. Crimp the ends of the pastry once your finished rolling and rejoice - you've just made a wellington.
Take the remaining portion of your beaten egg and brush it across the top and sides of the wellington. This will help the outer crust become nice and golden brown while cooking. We don't have a pastry brush, so I improvised and used the next best thing. A paper towel. Turns out, the end of a paper towel saturated in egg works very well as a brush! Once the entire wellington is covered - stick the little guy in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes.
When in a pinch, a paper towel works just like a pastry brush
Once that timer goes off, you can begin making your honey roasted carrots. Roasted is a bit of a misnomer here - they are actually cooked on a stovetop. Must have been one of those "sounds better this way" naming scenarios.
Add your water, carrots, honey and butter into a large pot and bring everything to a boil. Allow the butter to fully melt and mix everything together really well after this and then reduce the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Allow to cook for 15 minutes, shaking the pot occasionally to prevent the carrots from sticking. (Alternatively, you can use a large spoon to stir, but be quick. The entire concept here is the small amount of water will 'flash steam' the carrots. Every time you take off the lid, you lose valuable steam and heat.) Once the timer goes off, your carrots and done and so is your wellington.
Adding the touch of honey
Slice your wellington like a loaf of bread (don't worry about the contents falling out, everything sticks together very well after baking) and serve with a big spoonful of your honey carrots and enjoy!
Tonight's recipe was, in a word, FANTASTIC. The beef wellington was full of flavor. The meat was incredibly juicy and flavorful and the vegetables all added their own unique flavors to create this perfect symphony of flavor. I was hoping for good thing from this recipe, but I wasn't expecting this. Next to the french baked potatoes from an earlier blog, this may be my favorite dish so far. Fantastic. I highly recommend you try making it for yourself. Heck, buy the ingredients and I'll come over and make it for you. It's THAT GOOD.
The honey 'roasted' carrots were a nice surprise as well. They ended up being nice, soft, cooked carrots with a light hint of honey. A delicious side dish that would compliment any main dish very well. These are also worth a look.
When it was all said in done, I'd say I conquered this recipe with relative ease. There were some tricky parts. However, nothing was too unbelievably difficult or overly taxing. In the end, I think I was letting all of the pictures and descriptions get to me. Taking it one step at a time, this recipe wasn't nearly as hard as I had originally thought.
One last note. You may have noticed in that first picture of the wellington - mine sprung a leak during cooking. I rolled the dough a little too thin in one spot and the juices from the hamburger oozed right out during cooking. Outside of that one small incident - this recipe came off relatively accident free. As of this moment, I'm still sitting here. (Meaning the peas haven't killed me yet). I can't really say if I've come around to them yet. I never really had a chance to taste their individual flavor. However, after a brief return to my diet - peas have proven to be not as horrible as I remember. Maybe (maybe) they will make another return to a recipe. That all depends on me surviving the night....
All kidding aside, I have one last thing to cover. As I alluded to earlier (and then flat out mentioned) we achieved a great milestone today. Today, we received our 1,000 page view.
That is pretty impressive considering we've been doing this for slightly over a month. We'd hoped to hit it yesterday, but Monday's are usually a lower traffic blog day and we came up short....one short. Yes, at 11:59 last night we had 999 blog views. So, if you didn't stop by yesterday to see what was new - because of you we had to wait an entire extra day to celebrate 1,000 views. Way to go.
I, of course, am kidding. Maggie and I cannot express just how much it means that so many people read our blog on a daily basis. What started off as a little place for us to share some cooking experiences has now developed into something more. It means so much to us that so many people have an interest in what we're doing. To those of you that leave us comments and give feedback - thank you. To those you just stop by to read - thank you just as much. We love what we're doing here. I love to write, I love to cook and this little blog is a blending of the two. It's a lot of fun to write, and I hope it's a lot of fun to read. Here's to another 1,000 page views and countless more recipes!
Stop back in tomorrow night to see what Maggie has in store. Until then,