Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Beef or Chicken Wellington - Recipes to Rival Challenge
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Another month has passed and it's time to post results for the Recipes to Rival Recipe Challenge for June. The event is sponsored by Lori of Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness and Temperance of High on the Hog. Our host this month was Mz Kitchen of Madame Chow's Kitchen and she picked a wonderful classic for us to try. Her choice was Beef Wellington. We didn't have to use beef tenderloin for the challenge but there could be no substitutes for puff pastry and duxelles. I learned to cook in the late sixties when Julia Child was all the rage. She captured my imagination and I went quickly from meatloaf with mac n' cheese to the cooking of provincial France with an occasional nod to haute cuisine thrown in for good measure. I was toting a baby on my hip when I first made this dish. We've had it often because it's a good dish that's guaranteed to please and impress guests. It sounds difficult to make but nothing could be further from the truth. It can be assembled in stages and popped in the oven to tan while you enjoy an aperitif with your guests. I used butter poached chicken folded around brie cheese and duxelles for the base of my Wellingtons. I have a few tricks that will make the preparation of this dish much easier. Use a potato ricer to extract moisture before sauteing the mushrooms. The duxellles must be as dry as possible in order to prevent soggy pastry. The pastry packets must be icy cold when you put them in the oven to prevent the meat or poultry from overcooking as the pastry browns. This is a dish that belongs to The Little Engine that Could School of Cooking. You need a bit of courage to start, but once you begin if you think you can you'll nail it. I'm going to include the recipe for butter poached chicken and instructions for forming the individual Wellingtons. Instructions for the duxelles can be found in the master recipe.
Butter Poached Chicken...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
4 (6 to 8-oz.) boneless chicken breast halves
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 oz. brie cheese, softened
1/2 recipe duxelles (see master recipe)
1 package (17.3-oz.) puff pastry sheets, thawed
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water)
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Heat butter in an ovenproof casserole large enough to hold chicken in a single layer. Quickly roll chicken in butter and remove from pan. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Fold each breast in half and tie lightly with kitchen twine. This is necessary to assure chicken can be folded around filling once it's cooked. Return to casserole. Sprinkle lemon juice over chicken. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the chicken and cover with a lid. The parchment paper is used to keep the chicken from browning. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
3) Remove twine from chicken. Divide brie into 8 equal portions. Divide duxelles into 8 equal portions. Spread a portion of cheese on the inner side of each chicken breast. Cover with an equal portion of duxelles. Fold in half again. Spread a portion of cheese on top side of each breast. Top each with duxelles. Set aside.
4) Cut each pastry sheet into two pieces. Place a breast in the center of each piece and draw up sides to enclose chicken. Place on paper lined tray and refrigerate for several hours.
5) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush each packet with egg wash. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until chicken is a deep golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.