Some of the most impressive looking dishes can be very easy to make, such as beef fillet cooked in pastry. I have always enjoyed food cooked in a pastry casing as this retains the flavour and the cooked dish looks beautiful. There are many variations for this particular dish including truffle peelings, instead of mushrooms, which is a real luxury. The famous variation in England is Beef Wellington. The recipe I made is quite easy to prepare (if you use ready made pastry). I served it for a family lunch and accompanied the beef with a creamy mushroom sauce and roast potatoes. My son-in-law described it as an “epic” meal which made me feel great. A good wine to pair with the fillet is a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, as you need to balance the flavour of the beef with the earthiness of the mushrooms. I paired it with a smooth Bouchard Pere et Fils “La Vignee” Bourgogne Pinot Noir.
Ingredients for 4 guests:
- 1 beef fillet about 1kg
- 1 packet frozen pastry
- 1 large punnet field mushrooms
- 1 packet of pork sausages ( 250 – 300g) or sausage meat
- 250ml cream
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cognac
- 50 g butter
- Flour to roll out pastry
- A bottle of Bouchard Pere & Fils “La Vignee” Bourgogne Pinot Noir available at the French Market
Filet en Croute:
- Preheat oven to 200C degrees
- Flour a pastry board and roll out the pastry to a rectangle with sufficient length and width to wrap the fillet.
- Open one end of each sausage and squeeze out the sausage meat
- Spread the sausage meat thinly across pastry leaving a border all round
- Trim the fillet and remove any extra muscle tissue (white membrane) try to make it an even width.
- Remove the stalks of the mushrooms and chop these into small pieces
- Spread the mushroom pieces across the sausage meat
- Place the fillet on top of the mushrooms lengthways
- Damp the edge of the pastry with water
- To wrap the fillet, carefully roll up the pastry at each end over the top of the fillet, then bring up the long sides of the pastry and stick the edges together on top so that there are no holes.
- If you have extra pastry you can cut it into shapes and decorate the top of the pastry.
- Make a small hole in the top of the pastry, insert a rolled up piece of paper to act as a funnel
- Beat egg yolk lightly with a fork
- Brush the egg yolk over the pastry
- Chill in fridge for a short while to set the pastry.
- Carefully place the pastry-covered fillet on to a non-stick baking tray
- Cook for about 30 minutes, the fillet will be medium rare.
- Remove from oven and carefully remove the paper chimney
- Carve into thick slices and serve with the mushroom sauce and roast potatoes (optional)
- Slice the mushroom caps.
- Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for a few minutes.
- Pour over a tablespoon of Cognac then light it with a match, taking care.
- Once the flames have gone out, stir the mushrooms and pour in the cream.
- Simmer gently until the sauce gets a darker mushroom colour and thickens.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot in a sauce boat with the Filet.
Roast potatoes (Optional)Prepare before cooking the beef then re-heat before serving :
- Preheat oven to 180 C degrees
- Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters.
- Boil in salted water for about 20 minutes
- Strain off the boiling water
- Melt a large knob of duck fat in a baking tray.
- Add the potato quarters and cook for about 1 hour turning from time to time until golden and crispy
I recommend pairing the fillet with a glass of Bouchard Pere et Fils “La Vignee” Bourgogne Pinot Noir