A few years ago, my husband and I attended a Master Chefs class at Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts. The name of the class is a bit misleading – we’re just home cooks – but we do enjoy food and learning how to cook new things, so we took the class.
One of the great dishes we learned to cook that day was Beef Wellington (recipe card shown below). It was so delicious, and I’d always planned to cook it again at home some time, but it had been several years since we took that class and I still had not made it at home – until recently – when we were invited to a wine tasting party and needed to take a dish.
Knowing there would be a number of new people there, I decided it’d be fun to take something with a little wow factor to it. I thought if I could recreate the Beef Wellington, and it taste as good as the one we’d had at Le Cordon Bleu, everyone would love it, and if I could turn it into an appetizer, it would definitely have the wow factor. (The added wrinkle of not only trying to recreate a new dish from a recipe card, but also fabricating it into individual, appetizer sized, portions could totally make or break any dish, of course, but I felt like it stood a good chance of success, so I decided to go for it. Go big or go home, you know?!)
It was a huge success. Everyone thought it was a catered item, and I overheard new people all night long reminiscing about it (it went very quickly).
Here is how to make it and enjoy those same kinds of compliments from all your friends, new and old:
Le Cordon Bleu Beef Wellington Appetizers
- 2 beef tenderloin steaks (8 ounces each), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 3/4 cup fresh mushrooms, finely diced
- 3 tbsp red wine
- 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed enough to roll out
- 12 oz beef stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 egg yokes, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 F
Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add 3 tbsps of butter to a hot saute pan and sear the pieces of meat quickly on all sides. (This will go very rapidly so I found it easiest to work with only a few pieces of the meat at a time, turning it with a spatula, and using a set of tongs to make adjustments for those pieces that don’t like to cooperate.) Set seared meat aside – to rest.
In the same pan used to sear the meat, add a tablespoon of diced onions and let them cook until tender. Add the red wine and reduce it until nearly dry. Add the beef stock and slowly reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. (It’ll be about the consistency of pancake syrup…) Turn off the heat and allow to sit as you continue to the next steps.
Melt 5 tbsp of butter in a separate skillet over medium heat. Add the onions first and cook until nearly done, then add the mushrooms cook the whole mixture until both the mushrooms and onions are cooked through. Add the beef/wine sauce and salt and pepper (to taste), and stir until it’s evenly mixed. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
On a lightly floured surface, unfold the puff pastry. Roll each sheet into a 12-in. square and cut each into 16 squares.
Divide up the pieces of meat evenly for the 16 squares, and top the meat with a tablespoon of the mushroom/sauce mixture. Top the meat and mushroom mixture with the remaining squares of puff pastry, and press the edges with a fork to seal. (It will look similar a big ravioli.) Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Cut slits in top; brush with egg. Bake 14-16 minutes or until golden brown.
Horseradish dipping sauce
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Directions for sauce:
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Garnish with additional chives (if desired). Serve alongside appetizers for dipping.