published Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Courters' Kitchen: Beef Wellington a swank dish and holiday favorite

COURTERS' KITCHEN

This monthly cooking series features husband and wife team Barry and Kelley Courter.

  • photo
    Kelley and Barry Courter say this Beef Wellington dish brings back holiday memories of Dickens Dinners hosted by the Gazebo, once a fine dining establishment on Georgia Avenue.
    Photo by Barry Courter.
    enlarge photo

BARRY SAYS: Kelley and I actually met many years ago while we were both working at the Gazebo and Brass Register on Georgia Avenue. While we were talking about what to make this month, we started talking about the Dickens Dinners that the Gazebo hosted every Christmas. While we are not going to attempt to duplicate that magnificent meal, the discussion got Kelley thinking about the things chef George "Mac" McReynolds used to make. One of those was Beef Wellington.

KELLEY: I actually called Mac last week to talk to him about how he used to prepare the dish, which was always a favorite with Gazebo guests. This recipe is pretty close to how he did it. He had an advantage over me in that the Gazebo kitchen had a convection oven. Cooking it in a regular oven made getting the meat just right a little challenging, and ours turned out a little more well-done than we would have liked.

As Mac had done, I did brown the beef a little -- perhaps too long -- before wrapping it in the pastry and cooking them in the oven. Don't try to get the meat too browned during this step if you like rare.

Still, it turned out well, and it brought back a lot of good memories.

BARRY: For me, too. I can picture in my mind how the restaurant was decorated and how the food looked on the serving line.

The recipe includes a couple of items you must make before you put together the Beef Wellington.

Madeira Sauce

1 package Knorr Swiss Brown Gravy Mix, prepare per directions

1/2 large shallot, minced

2 tablespoons fresh red bell peppers

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1/2 tablespoon minced fresh chives

2 tablespoons butter

1/8 cup Madeira wine

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in small saucepan. Add shallot and bell pepper. Wilt for two minutes. Add wine and fresh herbs. Reduce till wine is almost evaporated. Add to prepared gravy. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Set aside.

Mushroom Duxelle

1/2 large shallot, minced

5 large fresh mushrooms, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon Madeira wine

Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Melt butter in small saute pan. Add shallots, mushroom and thyme. Wilt for one minute. Add wine, reduce till wine evaporates. Season to taste with pepper. Set aside.

Beef Wellington

2 filet of beef tenderloin, sized to preference

1 package of prepared Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry

1 package of foie gras (we bought ours at Fresh Market in the dairy section)

Salt and pepper to season

Drizzle of vegetable oil

Heat heavy skillet on medium high. Coat with oil. Sear filets and cook on each side until lightly brown. Remove from heat and cool.

Roll out pastry and cut into two equal sizes. They need to be big enough to encase the meat. Spread on some Mushroom Duxelle, add a couple of slices of the foie gras to each pastry and place the meat on top. Wrap the pastry around the meat, closing any openings. Brush pastry with beaten egg. Place both on a cooking sheet and bake in the oven at 375 degrees until brown, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve with Madeira Sauce on the side.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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