Spinach Beef Wellington
So this is coming a few days later than I originally planned. By a few days, I mean weeks. oops.
I was trying to get this recipe up before Valentines day in an attempt to provide you with a *romantic* type recipe for the holiday. However, who says you can’t make a romantic meal any day. It’s like Christmas in July… get your romance on any time you want.
I don’t think that I can justifiably call this beef wellington. I am pretty sure that Gordon Ramsey would reach through the internet and slap me for this one.
So lets just say that this recipe is beef wellington inspired.
Okay, so I had been wracking my brain for a nice romantic dinner for valentines this year. Patrick is particularly fond of steak, which I am not as big of a fan.
When you think of romantic food, you think of oysters or lobster right? Well guess who doesn’t like seafood? Patrick. A nice linguine and claims, or maybe muscles would have been delicious and much easier, but I would have been eating them by myself. Not so romantic when you force your partner to watch as you eat a food that he hates while he goes hungry.
I wanted to make something nice that Patrick would like, and he is very much a meat and potatoes kind of guy. So… steak, but how to dress it up?
Wrap it in puff pastry, thats how.
Beef Wellington has always eluded me as I am not a huge fan of mushrooms. Last time I ate mushrooms in large quantities I broke out in hives. So here is how the whole “almost beef Wellington” comes in. I decided to substitute the mushrooms for spinach.
I watched a couple of videos on the technique and thought to myself… how hard can this be?!
So I went out and bought a filet of beef (loosely following this recipe) and decided to make a spinach filling instead of mushrooms. Well, in the traditional recipe mushrooms are pureed and then cooked in a dry pan until all of the moisture is evaporated. I found out why all of the moisture is cooked out of the mushrooms before being sealed into puff pastry.
My first attempt I might have been a little overzealous with the spinach. I made a pseudo creamed spinach and used that as the filling in place of the mushroom filling. I slathered that shit in there and used WAY too much. Before baking, the roll looked great! Just how it looked in all of the videos and other recipes I reviewed beforehand.
After coming out of the oven, still looked alright but as soon as I started to cut into it, the whole thing just fell apart. There was so much moisture from the abundance of spinach that the pastry became soggy from the inside and couldn’t hold it’s shape.
It was back to the drawing board with this one. While my first attempt tasted delicious, it looked like a pile of nonsense once plated. I decided to tone down the amount of spinach instead of a full filet of beef, I went with and individual steak as it was only for 2 people.
Before following the recipe below, I recommend watching this video and this video to get a better idea of how to assemble the beef as I know I will have a hard time describing it to you. I would also recommend planning out this recipe at least a day ahead of time. It definitely takes some preparation and time to chill in the fridge. I began mine a day ahead of time and letting the whole thing chill in the fridge overnight and then popping it in the oven the next day to finish.
1 half pound filet minon
1 sheet puff pastry
4 oz thinly sliced procuitto
1 lb fresh spinach
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
Begin by searing your steak. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Pat steak dry and place in pan and sear on all sides until a nice crust forms. This should take a total of 2 minutes per side. The goal is not to cook through the steak, just get some nice color around the outside. Set steak aside to rest.
Creamed Spinach (You will have leftover spinach)
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan and place fresh spinach in a large colander in the sink. Once the water is boiling, immediately pour over the spinach. Then run cold water over the spinach to stop the cooking. All of the spinach should be completely wilted but still bright green in color.
Using your hands, press the spinach down and squeeze as much watcher out as you can. Then, wrap spinach in a towel (or paper towels) to continue to wring out more water under spinach appears dry-ish.
To make the “creamed” part of creamed spinach, melt butter in a medium sized sauté pan over low - medium (think 3 out of 10 heat) and sprinkle flour over the top. Continuously whisk flour-butter mixture for about 4-6 minutes until mixture begins to have a nutty-toasty smell but is still blonde in color.*
Slowly and continuously pour in milk while continuing to whisk. The milk will immediately begin to thicken. If mixture seems too thick, then add a little bit more milk. Let milk mixture heat through on medium-low heat for a few minutes and then whisk in parmesan cheese until combined and smooth.
Add the spinach and increase heat to medium. Spread spinach mixture out evenly over the pan and let sit to allow some of the moisture cook out. Occasionally mix around to avoid burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. This should take 5-10 minutes. Transfer into a separate bowl and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
On a piece of plastic wrap, overlay the pieces of prosciutto into a star shape in the center.
Place 2 tablespoons of spinach into the center of the prosciutto star and spread evenly in a small circle roughly the size of the steak you are using.
Place the steak on top of the spinach and wrap the prosciutto around the steak.
Tightly gather the plastic wrap around the steak and twist the ends together until the ball is incredibly tight. I used a piece of tape so that this does not come undone. Place in the fridge for at least a half hour.
On a floured work service, roll out the pieces of pastry dough slightly to press out any creases if the dough was previously folded.
Remove steak from the fridge and unwrap the plastic wrap. After chilling the fridge for a half hour, the prosciutto should keep its shape around the steak. Place the steak in the middle of one of the sheets of dough.
Take a little bit of cold water and using either a brush or your finger, run this along the dough around the edge of the steak. This will act as glue for the top piece of dough.**
Place the second piece of dough over the steak press around to make sure no air bubbles are trapped within. Press along the edge where you placed the water.
Place the now completely wrapped steak onto a new piece of plastic wrap and just like before, tightly gather the plastic around the steak and twist, forming a tight ball. You can use tape again to seal this and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or over night.
The Final Bake
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. After chilling the fridge, take the steak out and let sit for 10 minutes. Place steak on parchment paper lined sheet pan. Whisk egg yolk in a small bowl with 1tbsp of cold water and brush yolk all over the pastry dough. This will give it a wonderful golden color as it bakes.
Place sheet tray in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until pastry dough is golden brown. Once out of the oven, let rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice into 4 even pieces and enjoy with some roasted veggies or mashed potatoes!
* If you have never made a roux, follow this link. Bon Appetit has some great videos on basic cooking techniques! In this recipe you are making a blonde roux, but in a much smaller quantity that what the tutorial video shows.
** Usually one would use an egg yolk as glue for pastry dough, however as this is going to be wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled, the likelihood if the dough coming undone is diminished and water worked just fine for me.