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Lisa - LA

REC: Mini Bouefs en Croûte

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Joined: Dec 9, 2005

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Posted to Thread #155 at 12:49 am on Dec 21, 2005

Don't let the lengthy instructions deter you, Delia's recipe instructions are very detailed!

See my notes at the end of the recipe.

Mini Bouefs en Croûte

Serves 4

From Delia’s Complete Christmas – Delia Smith 2004

4 x 6 oz (175 g) fillet steaks, cut from the middle of the fillet so they’re nice and thick
9 oz (250 g) bought puff pastry
1 teaspoon beef dripping
a little brandy
1 large egg, beaten
6 fl oz (175 ml) red wine
salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the filling
½ oz (10 g) dried ceps (porcini) mushrooms
1 large onion, peeled
8 oz (225 g) dark-gilled open cap mushrooms
1 oz (25 g) butter
freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly milled black pepper

You will also need a baking sheet, well buttered.

Begin by making the filling well ahead, as it needs to be chilled before you use it. Start off by soaking the ceps (porcini) in boiling water for 20 minutes, and while that’s happening the onion and open-capped mushrooms will need to be chopped as finely as possible. If you have a food processor you can do this in moments; if not, use a very sharp knife and chop them minutely small. When the ceps (porcini) have had 20 minutes, squeeze out all the excess liquid, then chop them small as well. Now, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the onion and mushrooms to get a good buttery coating, then season well with salt, pepper, and a few gratings of fresh nutmeg.

What you need to do now is turn the heat to its lowest setting and cook, uncovered, allowing the juices from the mushrooms to evaporate slowly. This will take about 35 minutes altogether – stir it from time to time and what you should end up with is a lovely concentrated mixture with no liquid left. Spoon the mixture into a bowl, cool and chill in the fridge.

A few hours before you want to serve the steaks, heat the beef dripping in a solid frying pan until it’s smoking hot, or, as the chef who taught me to cook said “Hot as you dare!” Now place the steaks 2 at a time in the pan and give them 30 seconds on each side – what you’re trying to achieve here is a dark, seared surface with out cooking the steaks – them remove them to a plate. Turn the heat off under the pan, but don’t wash it, because you’re going to need it again later.

While the steaks are cooling, cut the pastry into 4 pieces and roll each one out thinly to a 7 ½ in (19cm) square; trim the edges to get a neat square and reserve the trimmings. As soon as the steaks are cold, brush them with a little brandy, season with salt and pepper, then lightly brush the surface of each pastry square with some of the beaten egg. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the mushroom mixture for the sauce, then place about an eighth of the remaining mixture in the middle of each square of pastry, then top with a steak. Now place the same amount of mushroom mixture on top of each steak., then bring 2 opposite corners of pastry up to overlap in the centre, tucking in the sides as if you were wrapping a parcel, brush the pastry all over with more beaten egg and bring the 2 remaining corners up to overlap each other. Be careful to seal the pastry only gently, because if you wrap it too tightly it tends to burst open in the oven. If you like, you can use the reserved trimmings to make leaves for decoration.

Then, using a fish slice, gently lift the parcels on to the baking sheet, cover with a clean tea cloth and chill for at least 30 minutes, or until you are ready to cook them. When you are, preheat the oven to gas mark 7, 425ºF, 220ºC, pop them in the oven on a high shelf and cook for 25 minutes, which will give you medium-rare steaks. If you want them well done, give them 5 minutes more, if you want rare, give them 5 minutes less.

While they’re cooking, pour the wine and reserved mushroom mixture into the pan. Let it all bubble and reduce by about a third – this will deglaze the pan and you can spoon a little of the reduction around each portion before it goes to the table.

One word of warning: you must have your guests seated and ready before this is served, because if the steaks wait around, they go on cooking inside the pastry.

Lisa's notes:

Mushrooms: I used a combination of portabella and crimini in this recipe - it is very flexible, so use what you have.

Beef drippings: I use olive oil & butter instead.

Making ahead: These will stay well in the fridge for at least 8 hours, this has been my experience.

Placing the mushroom filling on the steaks: Instead of placing the filling on the pastry, then topping with steak and more filling - I divided the filling into quarters - one for each steak. Spread equal parts of the filling on both sides of the steak, then place on the pastry. This way the mushrooms coat the entire outside of the steak evenly. The most efficient way to do this procedure is with your hands - messy but quick.

Wrapping the pastry: You want the top of the pastry packets to look like the back of an envelope - use the trimmings to cover any seams or mistakes.


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