Help... Beef tenderloin/beef wellington-Holiday WOW factor!

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Hey all... So I want to wow my family this christmas but they are picky... no goose, duck, lamb. Just eat regular chicken, beef and problem is most don't like to see red in beef (I know right). So I want two do 2 beef wellingtons... one med rare one med well.

Problem is the $.Feeding 14 adults. If I get an untrimmed 7 lb tenderloin can I use the center for 2 or will it be too small? I do not want to do individual as well. Am I better off getting 2 five lb tenderloins or 1 big one? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks and Happy Holidays!

Also, any other ideas for fancy WOW factor chicken dishes?

Brad
 
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I think you are stuck getting 2, to make sure the pieces are of similar size and shape and allowing you to control the cooking.  I prefer getting untrimmed so that the trimmed bits can be stroganoff, filet mignon, etc.

When I have made whole wellington, I find it easier to spread the paté and duxelles on the puff pastry and then put the beef on that and cover with the sides and ends.  It's not a complete circle of paté and duxelles but a little easier to do than spreading the beef.  If will be tricky to par-cook them differently and then try to get med rare and med well but, hey, cooking is nothing if not shooting from the hip.

I have made individual wellingtons and it's not that bad, more of an assembly job.  You can cook each round of filet to desired doneness and it can cut down on the amount of meat you need because each piece has a bit more pastry (better to soak up a red wine sauce?).  Also, I found it easier to control the degree of doneness, marking the more well-done pieces with some kind of a pastry cut out decoration.

 I have made lots of chicken and to be honest, the best response always come from a well-tended, beautiful roast chicken.  It's not particularly difficult but requires your attention.

After that, I think it is poached chicken breast (in stock, wine, flavorings) and then a finished classic velouté or variation.  I made sauce allemande the other night and we couldn't get enough.

Cheers!  Let us know how it turns out.
 
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7,675
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Personally I would not buy such an expensive cut of meat and then ruin it by overcooking. If you go to a quality steak house and ask them to cook your steak past medium they will refuse and steer you towards the chicken dishes.

That's just me, I cannot bare to spend money on an expensive cut of beef and then overcooking it. I too have too many people who don't like to see red so I stick to pork, turkey, and shoulder cuts I can braise.

What about a nice pot roast? Something cheap like a bottom round, braised whole with carrots and other veg stands up to thick carving and has a beautiful brown gravy.

Or a chicken hunters stew served with polenta.
 
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...and use pastry flour for your B.W. wrap.  It'd be delicate as was my one and only experience in '77.  Just sear the meat for a minute on each side at extra high and then place within the wrapped made with high fat butter (and less water) to be baked.

TJK - Escoffier
 
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Since you're intending to make two different "versions" the assumption is that half your party is okay with little a color showing. Those guests will be very happy with the properly cooked Wellington.
IMO those who want brown meat wont be, and you won't be happy with having to cook all the flavor out of a very expensive cut of meat. So for those people I would rmake chicken, for which i have 4 elegant
suggestions....
First, Chicken Wellington-- medium sized breasts wrapped in puff pastry.
Second, Chicken Cordon Bleu, breaded breasts stuffed with ham Gueure or Swiss, spinach leaves and roasted red pepper, baked to golden and topped with sherry shallot creame sauce.
3rd, Stuffed Cornish Game Hens, these bake up real purty.
A 4th dish for chicken would be Phyllo wrapped breasts also very elegant, but using that dough
is a bit more of a hassle.
 
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Just bake the wrapped meat at 350 in pastry flour for 30 minutes, gas oven.  Ain't nothing like gas oven. 
 
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Wow... thanks everyone... big help. I like the idea of chicken wellington since it can still give that wow factor I am looking for. Have to impress the family! Never seen chicken wellington before. Any advice on making it... same method as beef

Brad
 
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YES and just make a puff pastry using pastry flour with a slab of butter.  ..............makes for the best if rolled out correctly.
 
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Although I didn't gather that you wanted to make your own puff pastry, I recently made "inverse" puff pastry where the butter block is initially rolled around the détrempe.  Really nice results.  Easy to Google recipes.
 
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Personally I would put a medium sear on the chicken pieces then make a filling with finely
chopped cooked bacon, onions, garlic and mushrooms. And maybe some creme cheese to hold it all together. Spread on the pastry, chicken on top, roll it up and bake seam side
down.

Also unless you're emotionally wed to making everything from scratch I would just buy puff
pastry in the box , you're not making that many and it saves a lot of time and hassle.

Now to me the key to making these look especially WOW- elegant is to retain some small
strips of the puff pastry to make decorations like loops or flowers n stuff on top--when you
bake they puff up really nice and add a lot of class.
 
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kuan

Moderator
Staff member
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Save your beef.  Do this with a chicken.  Stuff it with sausage.

 
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Everybody and the OP will hate me now, but Beef Wellington is one of the most overvalued dishes ever, tho the presentation can be breathtaking. The only way to save the dish is with a superb, really undisputable demi-glace wine and/or port reduction sauce. And of course presented almost sagnant, never dry. BTW: Michel Roux Jr. uses pancakes to preserve the crust.
 
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If I were going to do a chicken dish (and I have made this several times with both chicken and duck) I would make a galatine, or ballotine of chicken.  Here is the recipe and it has a huge WoW factor and is an excellent technique to master.

 
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Chicken In puff pastry may look pretty and taste nice but let's face it, it ain't so special. Chicken breast for a holiday dinner? Meh. I think chicken is pretty special if you treat it like a chicken and the less it is processed the better. Boneless skinless breasts are like diet food,
People eat it several times a week so I wouldn't serve it as a special thing.

Prepackaged puff pastry is readily available but they are not all good. Pepperidge farm is very crumbly, not my fave. If possible shop at a high end store to get a better quality frozen puff or ask a local baker if he sells any.
 
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Too bad you don't live near me - they had Australian grass fed, free range whole tenderloin for $5.99/lb. last week.  Standing rib for $5.77/lb. this week.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif
 
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That sounds amazing... love the mixture too! I think I will do a dry run on these.
 

cerise

Banned
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Insteàd of chicken...how about duck l'orange or Peking style. The Wellington could be served as an amuse Bouche, thinly sliced and served in chinese soup spoons in a puddle of sauce.
 

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