Introduction: Mini-Beef Wellingtons

Thanksgiving is all about the turkey but that doesn't mean that the hardcore carnivores in your crowd have to be disappointed.  For Canadian thanksgiving this year I made appies of mini-beef wellingtons just to get all those stomach juices flowing.  As an American living in Canada, I will also be making the November thanksgiving - hey, two grand feasts in as many months - who could complain?!

The flaky pastry and savory mushroom duxelles encompass juicy beef tenderloin for a burst of flavor that will wow your guests.  Rest assured, these tasty little mouthfuls will be on the menu again!

What you'll need:

(makes 12 minis to serve 6 as appies)

about a pound of center cut beef tenderloin
about a pound of crimini mushrooms
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs brandy, marsala or sherry (do NOT use cooking sherry since that stuff tastes awful)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry thawed according to pkg instructions
6 slices proscuitto
dijon mustard
eggwash made by mixing a raw egg with about a Tbs of milk or water
coarse sea salt for topping

let's get started! 

Step 1: Mushroom Duxelles

wash the mushrooms and place them in a food processor - there really isn't any other good way to do this so if you don't have a food processor - borrow one!  Pulse the mushrooms until they are finely minced.

Heat the one tbs of butter and one tbs of olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat until butter is melted.  Add garlic, mushrooms and shallots and saute until butter mixture is absorbed and shallots are soft and translucent. Reduce heat and add 2 Tbs of the brandy or marsala and simmer until liquid is evaporated and mushroom mixture is dark brown (about 20 minutes).  Remove from heat and cool completely.  You can do this step ahead and keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to several days.  There will be leftover mushroom duxelles and you will be happy about it! You can spread it on bread or I like to use it as filling for ravioli or even as a pasta topping.   

I skipped the pic for this step because this stuff does not look appetizing even though it tastes heavenly!

Step 2: Assembly

Roll the puff pastry out into a large rectangle.

Cut the beef into one inch by one inch cubes. (for a standard beef wellington, you would sear the meat before assembling but since these are so small, they meat would become over cooked if you seared it before baking so skip that step)

Cut the proscuitto slices in half length-wise so you have long strips just over and inch wide.  Extras can go into the cook's mouth.  At least that's how it works here.

Now spread a thin even layer of  mushroom duxelles over the proscuitto with a butter knife.

Next spread a very thin layer of dijon mustard over the raw beef with another butter knife, making sure that you put the mustard into a small dish first so that you don't contaminate your whole jar with the raw beef knife!

Place the beef cube at one end of the mushroom coated proscuitto and roll it into a neat little package.

Cut the pastry into rectangles about 2 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches long.  Place the beef bundle you have created atop the pastry and roll it into a neat little package, tucking the side flaps underneath.

Place bundles on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Brush with eggwash and place uncovered into the fridge for about 30 minutes or until ready to bake.

Step 3: Bake 'em & Eat 'em

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in the center of the oven.  Remove beef wellingtons from the fridge and brush them again with eggwash.  Sprinkle with coarsely ground sea salt and bake in the oven until pastry is a golden brown - about 10-15 minutes.  Remove the wellies from the pan immediately and place on a serving dish.  Let them rest for about 5 minutes before serving.  Then watch 'em disappear!

This recipe makes about a dozen mini beef wellies.  I allowed 2 per person, mostly because they were appetizers and I didn't want everyone too full for dinner!