Ground Beef Wellington

 

My daughter was having a friend come over. We were all set to do something simple and then she said it. “My friend heard how yummy your cooking is, so don’t let her down.” She was joking – really! she was just joking, but the gauntlet had already been thrown down. I decided to try something new and different. Because I had a pound and a half of ground beef in the refrigerator, I went with that as my main ingredient. What to do, I wondered? Then I thought about it. Wrap it in pastry! So I searched the web and found a couple recipes for “Ground Beef Wellington”.

2016-03-16 19.50.43

I think this is where purists will exit, stage left.

So yes… in my mind, mini meatloaf wrapped in a pastry. Sounds good! I read through a couple recipes, got a sense of the overall techniques they used and found a couple useful tips. The most important one was to put the seams on the bottom so that any excess juices would be absorbed.

I was ready to go. Although the idea was to use what was in the house, unless I was going to cook something like a Chinese meat and veggie dish there was no way I could stretch a pound and a half of meat to feed seven people. Off to the supermarket!

I ended up using about 4 lbs of beef to make 7 Wellingtons. I’ll adjust downwards in the future.

To make it was fairly simple. I seasoned the meat for my mini meatloaf, then rolled it into balls and put it in a jumbo muffin tin. Baked it until it was almost completely done, then let it cool. After taking each one out and allowing them to drain in a plate, I removed the remaining excess juice from the bottom by just dabbing the bottom on a folded paper towel.

I then turned it upside-down, placed the ball of meat on a sized piece of crust and carefully folded the edges over. I sealed the seams by pinching and made sure that any air bubbles were allowed to collapse before sealing (this really was not an issue, the dough clings pretty well to the meat). I then placed them in a rectangular baking pan, brushed the top with egg yolk, then put them in the oven.

That’s it!

The photo you see, I’ll pick on. It was the largest and it was one that didn’t fit in the rectangular  pan so it was on the bottom of the stove getting a little less heat. It was also 20% larger than the rest. So, you see pink. It was cooked, but I the others were evenly colored inside and were still moist and juicy. Also because of the one that I plated for the photo being on the bottom and getting a little less heat, the crust is just a bit less done than the others.

In the future, what I would do is instead of making round balls, I’d make double width hamburger sized loafs and make them relatively flat on top and bottom. This will allow the wrapping to come together easier. It’ll also make them about a third smaller, which would be a better serving size. These came out just a little over half a pound each! Most of us ate half and saved half.

Ground Beef Wellington
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course Dinner
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A delicious and filling combination of seasoned ground beef and a flaky pastry crust.
Ingredients
  • 3 lb Ground Beef
  • 12 oz mushrooms sliced or chopped
  • 1 package Pie Crust
  • 1-2 egg yolk (you can thin with a teaspoon of cold water if needed)
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • dash salt
  • dash pepper
  • 2 TBS butter
  • dash of Worcestershire
  • dash of maggi
Instructions
  1. Saute the mushrooms, onion, and garlic in the butter, then allow to cool
  2. Mix the ground beef with salt, pepper, and add Worcestershire sauce and Maggi to taste.
  3. When the mushroom, garlic, onion mixture is cool, mix into the meat.
  4. Add any other season you want at this point. (cheese, herbs, etc...)
  5. Allow the meat to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  6. Form the meat into 1" thick patties about 4" across.
  7. Bake in a deep (to make sure juices don't spill) pan @ 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature of the beef is about 150 degrees.
  8. Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to handle.
  9. Meanwhile, divide each piece (there should be two per pack) of the pie crust into four pieces and roll them into a ball.
  10. Roll a ball out into a rough circle to a point where it's thin, but won't break on the meat.
  11. You should have timed this so the meat is cool enough to handle.
  12. Take a meat loaf patty and place it in the center of your dough.
  13. Fold the edges in and seal the seams by pinching. You can use a wet finger dipped in water if it helps, I did not find that it was necessary.
  14. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until the Wellingtons are golden brown all over.
  15. Remove from oven and allow to rest for a few minutes
  16. Serve and enjoy!

Other than that, the consensus was it was a success and tasty 🙂

Our Thanksgiving Turkey

This year I tried something a little different. We had thirty people coming over, family and a few friends of the family, so I cooked two seventeen pound turkeys. The system was pretty simple. We started with fresh butterball turkeys. I’ve tried different kinds of turkeys before, frozen, cheap, expensive, free range, and bang for the buck when having company it seems like butterballs work out the best. I brined for a few years, trying out different kinds of brines and they came out really good, but not so much that it was worth doing this year.

First we rubbed the inside of the cavity with lemon. Then we filled the turkeys with aromatics, carrots, onions, celery, fresh home grown thyme and rosemary, parsley, garlic and the remaining squeezed out lemon rind.

After that, the outside of the turkey was rubbed with a mixture of butter, garlic, and old bay seasoning. Usually I use a foil tent over the breast to slow the cooking a bit. One year I cooked it breast down and then rotated it the last hour. Both methods work, but this year on a whim, I covered the breast in bacon, as you see here.

Another change we made was instead of putting the thermometer probe into the thigh, we put it into the breast.  We preheated the oven to 500 degrees and put the turkey in, reducing the heat immediately to 325 degrees. This sears the outside of the turkey and I believe helps the turkey to remain juicier. At just past 165 degrees internal temperature we took out the turkey and it looked pretty good.

The trade off with the bacon, is that the skin on the breast wasn’t evenly brown under the bacon, but I was hesitant to pull the bacon off the last half hour as it was stuck to the skin in parts and I didn’t want to tear the skin and let the juice out. As it turned out, the white meat was very moist and tender and the dark meat was good as usual. Next year I’ll cover more of the turkey in bacon, maybe the whole top.

Our dinner was successful and with the potluck that everyone brought, we had food lined up down the counter and around the “L”. Great time with the family and friends. We hope your Thanksgiving was terrific too!

 

Delicious Cambodian food at The 252 Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

We stayed at The 252 Hotel in Phnom Penh Cambodia, which was really pretty wonderful. Details about the trip are here on our travel blog, abettertrip.com. One of the features that we liked was their nice cook to order restaurant. Our room included breakfast, but as we were tired some days and their food was quite good we ended up eating there for other meals as well. Here’s a sample of what we had. Continue reading

The day after tacos: Mexi-lasagna rolls

In the grand tradition of encharitos and all things not-really-Mexican, I bring you this yummy treat.

The day after we have a “Taco Night” we’re always left with a variety of taco fillings, beef, cheese, salsa, pico de gallo, olives (just because we love olives), and more. As I was looking at the crowded refrigerator I came up with a pretty simple and straightforward way to use it up. Roll it and sauce it! 🙂

The first thing I did was to get the sauce simmering. For that I added the following ingredients to a medium saucepan and put it on low.

1 can tomato sauce
about 1 to 1 1/2 cup leftover salsa and pico de gallo
chili powder
ground cumin
paprika
sea salt
(alternatively you can use powdered chili seasoning or taco seasoning. start light and work up slowly to taste)
about 1/4 cup of water

I usually put in the water first, then the sauce ingredients to minimize the chance of burning.

Continue reading

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