How To Cook For A Dinner Party

How To Cook For A Dinner Party

The key to success is delicious food that you are able to sit and enjoy with your guests.

My Dad turned 84 this week and I decided to host a small dinner for him at my apartment. We usually travel or go out to a restaurant for his birthday but given the times we decided it would be best to dine at home. My Dad loves his birthday so it was important to me to pick a special menu to serve for the occasion. Preparation and timing are the two most important factors in hosting a great dinner party. You want to be able to enjoy the dinner not only prepare it. It is also very uncomfortable for your guests if you keep getting up and look like you are working too hard. It is essential to choose a menu that can be prepped ahead of time. I chose to serve Fresh Perigord Black Truffles Shaved Over Pasta as the appetizer followed by Chorizo and Panko Crusted Black Cod with Beurre Blanc served with Individual Potato Gratin, Spinach Rounds and Blistered Tomatoes. The potato gratin was made 2 hours ahead of time and covered with foil so I could reheat them in the same oven as the fish. The spinach rounds were prepped in the morning and kept in the refrigerator. The Beurre Blanc was made an hour before guests arrived. The sauce was served room temperature.

So let’s sum this up: During the day, The fish was topped with the Panko and Chorizo and put on a baking sheet in the refrigerator, the Spinach Rounds were prepped and put on a baking sheet in the refrigerator and the Potato Gratin was fully cooked and left at room temperature covered with foil. The tomatoes were tossed in Olive Oil and sautéed for 5 minutes while I was making the pasta. The Black Cod, Spinach and Potatoes all required 12 minutes in a 400 oven. When the appetizer was served I put the Black Cod on the top shelf in the oven, the spinach on the middle shelf and the potatoes on the bottom shelf. I then went to sit down and eat my appetizer with my guests. After 10 minutes I returned to the kitchen to take everything out of the oven. The plates were all stacked and ready for me to place the food on. As my kids cleared the appetizer dishes, I plated the food and it was served to the guests. After that I was able to sit, have a glass of wine and enjoy my Dad’s birthday. Dessert was brought by my Step Mom so the rest was easy. I had the dessert plates and forks ready to go. The other nice thing about preparing in advance is that it makes clean up very easy. All that was needed to get done was place the plates and silverware into the dishwasher. No one wants to walk into a messy kitchen at the end of the night…

Appetizer:

We started with Cacio e Pepe Ravioli in a Truffle Butter and Cream Sauce topped with Shaved Fresh Black Perigord Truffles. Black Perigord Truffles are found in the Winter months, November through March. In the next few days I will be posting more on Black Truffles. The appetizer pasta was very quick to make. The Cacio e Pepe Ravioli was fresh so it only took a few minutes to cook in boiling water. I had a big pot of salted water simmering on the stove when my guests arrived so all I had to do was turn up the heat and make a quick Truffle Cream Sauce when it was time for dinner. The sauce took 5 minutes to make, roughly the same amount of time it took the pasta. I quickly tossed the ravioli in the sauce, dished it into bowls and my daughter Olivia brought them to the table as people were sitting down. I then went around the table and shaved the fresh Black Perigord Truffle over the pasta. It makes a beautiful presentation to shave the Black Truffle at the table.

Entree:

Try to pick a menu that is easy for you. The sides should definitely be made earlier in the day. Many vegetables are able to serve room temperature after being prepared. Try roasting zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes or sautéing string beans in shallots and serving them room temperature or give them a bit of heat in the oven before serving. Individual Potato Gratin can be made earlier in the day and quickly reheated. Fish is ready in no time which is why I love this Black Cod recipe. It is ready in 15 minutes and looks absolutely beautiful on a plate.

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Chorizo and Panko Crusted Black Cod

Served with Make Ahead Beurre Blanc
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time22 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sausage, fish
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 325kcal

Ingredients

  • lb Black Cod or Halibut
  • ¾ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Smoked Chorizo
  • salt and pepper
  • Lemon slices for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • remove casing from Chorizo and chop finely
  • mix with Panko
  • spinkle fish with salt and pepper
  • top with Panko mixure
  • Bake at 400 for 12 minutes
  • serve with make ahead beurre blanc and lemon slices

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 766mg | Potassium: 725mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 245IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg
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Make Ahead Beurre Blanc

An easy white sauce with a hint of mustard
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Sauces and Dips
Cuisine: French
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup white wine sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard

Instructions

  • sautee shallots in butter until translucent
  • add white wine and reduce by half
  • slowly whisk in heavy cream to emulsify and thicken
  • add mustard and pepper
  • strain through a sieve and set aside

Savory Parmesan Flan

Savory Parmesan Flan

An elegant appetizer that is easy to make and tastes great

I love appetizers that are interesting but easy to prepare. I love serving soup or salad to start but sometimes I want something a little different so this parmesan flan makes a great alternative. When I invite friends over there are usually some dietary requirements that need to be taken into consideration when choosing a menu to serve. This parmesan flan recipe is easy to prepare and can be adapted to fit many diets. If you would like to keep it vegetarian then serve it with blistered tomatoes, roasted artichoke hearts and arugula. If your guests aren’t vegetarian then I recommend serving the flan with Prosciutto di Parma, Arugula and Blistered Tomatoes. The flans come together very quickly and then need to be baked in ramekins that are placed in a water bath for 20 minutes. To do this you will place the ramekins in a baking dish and then pour boiling water in the baking dish until ramekins are submerged half way in the water. This is a necessary way to make any flan, whether sweet or savory. It insures the the edges do not get burned and that the flan cooks evenly.

I also love the silky texture of flan. It’s almost like a spread and I have seen some of my guests use a knife to put it on a little bread before eating it. Why not? It is like a cheesy spread. The parmesan flavor is dominate in the dish but is softened by the milk and cream. It is essential to grate your own parmesan cheese and not use packaged grated cheese. I prefer Parmigiana Reggiano. Freshly grated cheese is much lighter and airier than packaged grated cheese. I like to grind some additional black pepper over the flan before serving it. I love the way the black pepper looks on top of the creamy white flan.

Should I serve the Parmesan Flan hot or cold?

I like to serve the flan a bit warm. It doesn’t have to be hot but I do not like it cold. You can time it so the flans come out of the oven 30 minutes before your guests arrive. The flan will need to cool for 15 minutes before you invert them onto the plate and add the arugula, blistered tomatoes, basil and prosciutto. You can set the plates aside so the appetizer is ready to serve when your guests arrive.

What else can I serve the Parmesan Flan with?

You can really serve the parmesan flan with a lot of things. Think of it as creamy, silky parmesan. It works well as a side dish too. You can serve it with grilled fish or chicken with some sautéed spinach. It is also delicious next to a sliced sirloin steak or filet mignon. Next time you make an antipasto plate think about making the flan to serve on the board next to the prosciutto and salami.

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Parmesan Flan with Blistered Tomatoes and Arugula

savory parmesan flan
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cheese dish
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 265kcal

Equipment

  • (4) 6 oz ramekins

Ingredients

Parmesan Flan

  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp cornstarch diluted in 1 tbsp water
  • 1 clove garlic peeled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
  • tsp salt
  • tsp black pepper plus more to sprinkle on top
  • pinch nutmeg

Blistered Tomatoes

  • 20 grape tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • tsp salt
  • tsp black pepper

Instructions

Parmesan Flan

  • preheat oven to 350
  • Put milk and heavy cream in saucepan
  • add cornstarch and water mixture
  • add whole pealed garlic clove, salt, pepper and nutmeg
  • warm milk on low flame until hot but not boiling
  • whisk eggs
  • slowly add milk mixture to eggs being careful not to cook the eggs
  • strain through fine sieve
  • blend in freshly grated parmesan cheese and gently mix until cheese is melted
  • grease 4 ramekins with spray or butter
  • fill ramekins 3/4 of the way up
  • put ramekins in a baking dish and then pour boiling water into baking dish until water is half way up ramekins. Be careful not to get water in flan.
  • place on baking sheet in oven for 20 minutes until flan is set
  • remove from oven and remove ramekins from water bath. Allow to rest for 15 minutes then turn ramekin over plate to release flan from ramekin. If it is a little stuck use a knife to gently run around edge of flan to release it from ramekin.

Blistered Tomatoes

  • Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat
  • add tomatoes, salt and pepper – Be careful, they wil splatter as they cook
  • shake tomatoes in pan until starting to brown and soften

Serve Parmesan Flan with Tomatoes, Arugula dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and slices of Prosciutto di Parma (optional)

    Nutrition

    Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 159mg | Sodium: 515mg | Potassium: 128mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 838IU | Calcium: 345mg | Iron: 1mg

    Homemade Soft Pretzels

    Homemade Soft Pretzels

    Delicious Homemade Pretzels and Pretzel Nuggets

    Living in NYC I love to walk in Central Park and eat a big, hot salty pretzel. Soft pretzels are sold by street vendors all over the city and are best eaten hot with lots of mustard. The pretzel was originally created in Germany by a Monk around 610 A.D. They were called ‘pretiola’ which translates to ‘little reward’. The monk would give the pretiola to children as a reward for learning their prayers. The twisted shape of the pretzel is meant to resemble a child’s arms crossed in prayer.

    I have spent a lot of time perfecting a recipe for homemade soft pretzels at home. The dough comes together very quickly but does require a rise of about an hour in order to create a pretzel with the right texture and consistency. I like to make these pretzels with my daughter Olivia. It is a lot of fun to roll out the dough and shape them into pretzels. It is essential to boil the pretzel for 30 seconds in water and baking soda before baking them in the oven. This step is what creates the slightly chewy texture to the soft pretzel and prepares the outside to crisp up in the oven. Please note that you should add the baking soda to the water first and then bring it to a boil. Adding the baking soda to boiling water will cause the water to boil over and will make a mess. Trust me on this one, it’s not pretty. After boiling the pretzels, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to dry for a few minutes before brushing with egg wash and sprinkling on pretzel salt. You can make the dough into pretzel shape or nuggets, both work well. It is important not to crowd the pretzels when boiling them. I only boil one or two at a time. Also, do not boil them for more than 30 seconds. Boiling the pretzel for too long will alter the taste because of the baking soda. These pretzels are best eaten fresh out of the oven while they are still warm. You will have freshly baked pretzels that are absolutely addicting. You can wrap them in foil and place in an airtight bag in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat the pretzels in a 350 oven. They will be good but they will not be as good as when you eat them the same day

    Can I top my pretzels with other toppings?

    Yes, you can top the pretzels with a variety of toppings, savory and sweet. I like to use pretzel salt on some and everything seasoning on the rest. You need to buy pretzel salt which is a specialized salt. It is not the same as coarse salt. Pretzel salt is white and has less sodium than coarse salt. You can also sprinkle grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on the pretzels when they are almost done baking so that the cheese melts on the pretzel. If you would like to make the pretzels a little sweet I would add a tablespoon of brown sugar to the dough and sprinkle the pretzels with cinnamon and sugar when they are half way through baking. You can serve the sweeter pretzels with chocolate and caramel dipping sauce.

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    Homemade Pretzels

    A soft chewy pretzel recipe
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time15 mins
    kneading8 mins
    Total Time38 mins
    Course: Appetizer, Snack
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: pretzels
    Servings: 12 pretzels
    Calories: 215kcal

    Ingredients

    • cups milk warm not boiling
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp butter melted
    • cups flour
    • tsp instant yeast OR 1 package active dry yeast
    • 1 egg beaten and mixed with 2 tbsp water
    • pretzel salt for sprinkling over pretzels
    • 9 cups water
    • ½ cup baking soda

    Instructions

    • mix flour and instant yeast together
    • place warm milk, sugar and salt in a mixer fitted with dough hook
    • slowly add flour and mix
    • add melted butter and continue to mix until dough comes together
    • take dough out of bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface until elastic and smooth. about 5 minutes.
    • place dough in a mixing bowl that has been greased with vegetable oil
    • rub top of dough with a little oil, cover with a dish towel and place in warm place for 1 hour
    • preheat oven to 400
    • add ½ cup baking soda to 9 cups of water and bring to a boil
    • cut dough into 12 pieces
    • roll each piece into a long rod around 16 inches long
    • form into a pretzel shape press ends into pretzel. Or cut into 1 inch nuggets.
    • Boil one or two at a time for 30 seconds
    • place on a parchement lines sheet.
    • Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with pretzel salt or everything seasoning
    • Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. (8-10 for nuggets)

    Notes

    You can use active yeast instead of instant yeast. If you use active yeast place the contents of one envelope into the warm milk and allow to activate for 5 minutes. Then proceed with recipe.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1pretzel | Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 1703mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg

    Chocolate Babka Recipe

    Chocolate Babka Recipe

    This is the best chocolate babka recipe

    I am so excited to share this with you! I have been experimenting with a chocolate bread recipe. I wanted to come up with one that was a combination of brioche and babka. A sweet, but not too sweet, dough layered with just the right amount of semi sweet chocolate. Of course the chocolate bread also had to have a crumb topping. If we are going to go for it well then let’s go for it. I used my cinnamon roll recipe as the base of the dough but added an additional egg yolk, some vanilla extract and a little extra butter. So should we call this Babka, Brioche or Briochka? The dough is softer and fluffier than a typical babka, more like a brioche but it is cut and twisted like a babka so really I guess Briochka is probably the best name.

    Outrageous Cinnamon Rolls
    fluffy, sweet cinnamon rolls with icing
    Check out this recipe

    The result is a buttery, sweet brioche style bread with layers of chocolate running throughout. It’s sweet but not too sweet. The chocolate filling for the babka is made by melting butter and semi sweet chocolate morsels and then mixing in confectionary sugar and cocoa powder to make a chocolate paste. The paste is then spread over the rolled out dough before the dough is rolled. The technique is very similar to cinnamon rolls but we cut the roll in half instead of slices. Each half will fit in one loaf pan. The half is cut vertically and then twisted before being placed in a loaf pan sprayed with baking spray or greased with butter.

    How do I prevent gaps in my babka?

    No one likes large gaps of air between their layers of babka. There are a few ways to prevent this.

    • Roll the dough slowly and tightly. Pull the dough slightly back as you roll forward.
    • Spooning a little half and half over the dough after the second rise will help keep the layers together
    • Brush top of dough with egg wash before sprinkling on crumb topping
    • Let bread cool for 15 minutes in pan before you remove babka to cut

    Can I Use a Different Filling in the Babka?

    Yes, you can fill the dough with several different fillings. Spread Nutella over the dough before rolling or try raspberry jam or cinnamon, butter and brown sugar. You can also add chopped walnuts or raisins if you like. Be creative.

    Chocolate babka ready to be baked in oven. Moments away from oh my yum!
    chocolate Babka
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    The Best Chocolate Babka Recipe

    a delicious combination of chocolate babka and chocolate brioche
    Prep Time30 mins
    Cook Time40 mins
    Rising Time2 hrs
    Total Time3 hrs 10 mins
    Course: Breakfast, Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: muffins, chocolate, breakfast bread, muffin
    Servings: 12 slices
    Calories: 354kcal

    Equipment

    • 2 loaf pans

    Ingredients

    Dough

    • 1 cup milk warm, not boiling
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 8 tbsp butter, melted
    • tsp instant yeast
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 4 cups bread flour or all purpose flour

    Filling

    • 8 tbsp butter
    • ¾ cup semi sweet chocolate morsels
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 1 cup confectionary sugar

    Topping

    • 2 tbsp butter, softened
    • ¼ cup light brown sugar
    • tbsp flour

    Before Adding Crumb Topping

    • 4 tbsp half and half
    • brush with egg wash

    Instructions

    Dough

    • mix flour and yeast in a bowl and set aside
    • in a large mixing bowl mix warm milk, eggs, butter, vanilla
    • add salt and sugar
    • add flour mixture and mix well the knead dough on a lightly floured surface
    • knead until dough is smooth and elastic. If its too sticky add a bit more flour
    • place dough in a large greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel
    • place in a draft free area and let rise for 1 hour
    • after 45 minutes prepare the chocolate filling
    • remove dough from bowl and roll into an 18×18 square
    • spread chocolate filling on dough and roll dough into a roll
    • cut dough in half horizontally
    • cut each half in half vertically so you have 2 long pieces for each half
    • grease (2) 8½ x 4½ loaf pans
    • twist 2 pieces together and place in loaf pan. Repeat with other half
    • cover with towel and place in draft free place to rise for 1 hour
    • preheat oven to 350
    • spoon 2 tablepoons of half and half over each loaf and allow to absorb in dough
    • brush each loaf with a little egg wash
    • spinkle crumb topping over loaf and place loaf pans on a baking sheet in oven
    • bake for 35-40 minutes
    • remove from oven and let stand 15 mintes before removing from pan and slicing

    Filling

    • melt butter and chocolate morsels in pan over low heat stirring constantly
    • remove from heat and mix in cocoa and confectionary sugar to make a paste

    Crumb Topping

    • mix softened butter, flour and brown sugar together to make a crumble

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1slice | Calories: 354kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 411mg | Potassium: 185mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 422IU | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 3mg

    Outrageous Cinnamon Rolls

    Outrageous Cinnamon Rolls

    Gooey, melt in your mouth cinnamon rolls

    I have been trying to perfect the cinnamon roll recipe for awhile. Some are too dry, some are too cakey, some don’t have enough cinnamon, some are too sweet. I have finally perfected the recipe. After many tries, and I’m sure a few extra pounds, I have come up with a recipe that has the perfect amount of sugary cinnamon with the right softness of dough.

    This recipe does not require a lot of ingredients but it does require some time. The rising process is very important in yielding fluffy rolls that goes oh so well with the cinnamon and brown sugar filling. I also think adding a bit of half and half or milk before baking the rolls keeps the rolls moist and gooey and the filling doesn’t dry out. I use instant yeast in this recipe and bread flour. You can substitute all purpose flour and active dry yeast if that’s all you can find. If you are using active yeast you will need to dissolve it in warm (not hot) milk before adding the sugar and eggs. I think instant yeast is easier to work with because you just add it to the flour and it doesn’t need to be activated but really either is fine. Just make sure that your yeast isn’t old. I also like King Arthur bread flour instead of all purpose. King Arthur makes amazing flour. The bread flour is higher in gluten and has 12.7% protein which results in a loftier and consistent texture. I use this flour in all the bread I make. It is also great for homemade pizza dough. If you don’t have bread flour do not worry, you can use all purpose and the rolls will still be delicious. The final touch to making these rolls exceptional is spooning some half and half or milk over each roll after they have risen and before you bake them in the oven. This prevents the rolls, and filling from drying out.

    I like a simple powdered sugar frosting, I do not like cream cheese frosting on my cinnamon rolls. I think its too heavy and takes away from the lightness of the rolls. The cinnamon rolls are sweet and decadent enough, the frosting should just add a bit of glaze to the top.

    Can I make the dough the night before?

    Yes, you can make the recipe up to when you are suppose to let the rolls rise for a second time. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Take the rolls out of the refrigerator and let them rise for about an hour before baking. They should be double the size as when you put in the refrigerator. After the rolls have risen pour half and half over them. Let the half and half absorb into the rolls. Gently pour out liquid that has not been absorbed and bake in oven as directed.

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    Outrageous Cinnamon Rolls

    fluffy, sweet cinnamon rolls with icing
    Prep Time20 mins
    Cook Time25 mins
    Rising Time1 hr 30 mins
    Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
    Course: Breakfast, Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: muffins, rolls, pastry
    Servings: 12
    Calories: 413kcal

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup milk – warm, not hot
    • 2 large eggs
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 6 tbsp melted butter
    • 1 tsp salt
    • tsp instant yeast
    • 4 cups bread flour or all purpose

    Filling

    • 4 tbsp softened butter
    • ¾ cup light brown sugar packed
    • ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • tbsp cinnamon

    Pour Over Rolls Before Baking

    • ¼ cup half and half

    Icing

    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • ½ tsp vanilla
    • tbsp milk

    Instructions

    • Add yeast to flour, mix well and set aside
    • In a large bowl mix warm, not hot, milk with melted butter and eggs
    • Add granulated sugar and salt and mix
    • Add flour and mix well until all incorporated
    • If dough is too sticky add another ¼ cup of flour
    • Knead dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes until dough springs back slightly
    • Put dough in a lighly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel
    • Put in a warm place and let rise for 45 minutes
    • On a lighly floured surface roll dough into a 18 x 18 square. Should be about ¼ inch thick.
    • Mix both sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl
    • Spread softened butter on dough
    • Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture
    • Gently roll dough into a log and cut into 12 slices. Each slice will be 1½ inches wide
    • Place cut rolls in a 9×13 baking dish
    • Cover and let rise for 45 minutes
    • preheat oven to 350
    • Spoon half and half over rolls and let absorb for 5 minutes.
    • Gently pour out liquid that hasn't been absorbed
    • Bake in oven for 25 minutes. If rolls are browning too much cover with aluminum foil

    Icing

    • Mix powdered Sugar, vanilla and milk together
    • Let rolls cool slightly then drizzle over rolls

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1roll | Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 369IU | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg

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    Beef Wellington

    Beef Wellington

    A Slightly Updated Classic Recipe

    Beef Wellington is an absolutely beautiful dish to serve at a special dinner. It does require a little time but the results are well worth the effort. This dish always reminds me of a time long ago when people hosted formal grand dinner parties in their home. I feel that this dish always makes the dinner feel more elegant. There are many theories regarding the origin of Beef Wellington. One theory is that it is named after the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) who won the battle of Waterloo. According to foods of England there is no mention of Beef Wellington in any English cookbook until about 1970. It is therefore presumed to have French origin and then renamed. No matter the origin, we do know that it dates back to a long time ago when classic technique cooking was popular.

    Beef Wellington is definitely a decadent dish. The original recipe calls for Duxelles, Foie Gras and Puff Pastry. In the recipe I was handed down by my mother the Foie Gras has been removed and sliced prosciutto has been added to help seal in the juices and prevent the puff pastry from getting soggy. The use of prosciutto is seen in many modern Beef Wellington recipes. The Duxelles is a combination of mushrooms, I like to use button, portobello and shiitake, that have been chopped and cooked down in butter with shallots and thyme. You can also add a little truffle or Chanterelle to the mix. I also add in a little fresh bread crumbs because I like the texture that it gives to the duxelles. The result is a mushroom paste that is spread over the prosciutto and then wrapped around the tenderloin.

    Duxelles with fresh thyme and breadcrumbs. Choose any assorted mushrooms you like and cook down with butter and shallots before adding the thyme and breadcrumbs

    You can use a 2 1/2 pound center-cut tenderloin ( will serve 6) that has been tied to retain the shape or you can use 6-8 oz portions if you would like to make individual Beef Wellington. You must sear the meat to seal in the juices before wrapping it in the duxelles, prosciutto and puff pastry. After you sear the meat, remove the string before wrapping. There’s nothing worse then getting a piece of string caught in your mouth. I have deviated from my mother’s recipe slightly after reading that Chef Gordon Ramsey rubs Dijon mustard on the meat before wrapping it. So clever, I just love that guy! After trying this I decided I really liked the flavor and spice that the Dijon mustard gave the dish. Always make sure you wrap the tenderloin securely with the puff pastry and seal the ends well. Do not leave too much dough on the end, you don’t want clumpy ends of dough. After you have wrapped the Filet in puff pastry use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes to create a beautiful design on top. This can be as easy as rolling a thin piece of pastry and creating a vine with leaves or cutting out birds like I did here for Christmas. Use your imagination, it’s your creation. Brush with egg wash before placing in oven to create a beautiful sheen on the pastry when finished. Serve the Wellington with Brandy Shallot Sauce.

    How Do You Know How Long To Cook The Meat?

    It will take about 35-40 minutes for a 2 1/2 pound tenderloin to reach medium rare (130-135 degrees). I recommend cooking the Wellington at 400 for 40 minutes. You can stick a meat thermometer in the center to check temperature. The ends of the meat will be more well done then the center pieces so you will have a variety of meat temperatures for your guests. Let the Beef Wellington rest for 10 minutes before slicing it. Since it will be so beautiful to look at you should place it on a platter and display it at the table while your guests are sitting down.

    Can I Make The Beef Wellington Ahead of Time?

    Yes, you can prepare the Beef Wellington according to the recipe up to the step before you wrap it in puff pastry. This can be done up to 12 hours before you are going to cook the Wellington. Wrap the tenderloin in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    Beef Wellington
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    Beef Wellington

    Filet Mignon wrapped in Puff Pastry
    Prep Time45 mins
    Cook Time40 mins
    Chill1 hr
    Total Time2 hrs 25 mins
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: French, English
    Keyword: meat, Steak, Filet Mignon
    Servings: 6 people
    Calories: 342kcal

    Ingredients

    • lb Center Cut Beef Tenderloin tied with string
    • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
    • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
    • 6 slices Prosciutto
    • 1 sheet Puff Pastry
    • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water

    Duxelles

    • 16 oz Mushrooms (Shiitake, Portobello, Button)
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • ¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs (not packaged)
    • ½ cup shallot chopped
    • 1 tsp fresh thyme (leaves only)
    • tsp salt
    • tsp pepper

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 400

    Duxelles

    • Add Mushrooms, Shallots and Thyme to a food processor and finely chop. Can also be done by hand but it needs to be finely chopped
    • Heat Butter in a pan and saute mushrooms until liquid has been rendered. About 8 min
    • Add salt and pepper and fresh breadcrumbs
    • Let cool

    Meat

    • Season beef with salt and pepper
    • Heat Olive Oil in pan and sear meat on all sides
    • Let cool slightly and remove string
    • Brush with Dijon Mustard

    Assemble

    • Lay slices of prosciutto slightly overlapping on a piece of plastic wrap
    • Spread duxelles over prosciutto
    • place cooled meat on top and use plastic to wrap prosciutto and mushrooms around the meat.
    • Chill in refrigerator for at least a half hour
    • Roll puff pastry on a lighly floured surface ¼ inch thick
    • Roll puff pastry in a rectangle just large enough to wrap around tenderloin. You do not want too much excess on sides. Trim pastry as necessary and keep scraps to decorate top with.
    • Remove Tenderloin from plastic and wrap tightly in puff pastry use egg wash to seal
    • Put seam side down and cut out decorative cut outs out of excess puff pastry to place on top.
    • Brush with egg wash
    • Roast in oven for 45 minutes until temp reaches 130-135 for medium rare
    • Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing with a sharp serated knife

    Notes

    Serve with Jenn’s View Brandy Cream Sauce recipe

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1person | Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 316mg | Potassium: 317mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg
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    5 from 1 vote
    Print Recipe

    Brandy Cream Sauce

    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time30 mins
    Total Time40 mins
    Course: Sauces and Dips
    Cuisine: French, American
    Servings: 6 people
    Calories: 136kcal

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp minced shallots
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • ½ cup brandy
    • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
    • 2 tbsp cornstarch
    • ¼ cup heavy cream
    • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
    • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • ½ tsp fresh cracked pepper
    • ¼ tsp salt

    Instructions

    • Saute shallots in butter until light brown
    • add brandy and reduce until slighly syrupy (around 5 minutes)
    • take ¼ cup of broth and mix with cornstarch then mix with rest of the broth and add to pan
    • simmer until starting to thicken. Around 5 minutes
    • add cream, mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper
    • Simmer until thick enough to coat back of spoon

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1person | Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 204mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 292IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

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