In Part 1 of the Feast, we told you about the 100 hungry folks sitting down to eat together for our big Saturday night dinner. The first courses were warming people up — gazpacho, beets and cheese, potatoes and cheese — did I mention that we like cheese?
For the next course, the beef Wellington was Fred’s idea, but lots of people worked hard to make it happen: Aaron and Eileen, Ben and Janine, and Jeff Solomon all helped with the preparation. Bill and Dorothea helped with the cooking and serving.
We bought the beef from a smaller, local producer — you know, the kind of woman who is happy to show you the cows that she keeps. We found just the place in Elizabeth, PA (just south of Pittsburgh). (She also explained a bit about the, ahem, mechanics of breeding her cattle. Those of you that have discussed similar topics with Brian Manning would not have been at all surprised.) Janice Palmer’s ranch is called “WH Cattle.” Our local food co-op sometimes gets beef from there, so when we asked about ordering meat at the co-op, they put us directly in touch with Janice. Buying directly from the farm has not only psychological benefits, but financial benefits as well — we were pleasantly surprised at the prices per pound for the beef after eliminating all those middlemen.
Individual Beef Wellington
by Fred Niell
(This makes 1/5 of what we prepared for the feast: enough for about 20 people.)
The recipe is 4 steps. 1) Marinade 2) Make Mushroom Duxelle 3) Assemble Wellingtons, and Bake 4) Make Marchand du Vin
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons thyme
- 2 tablespoons sage
- 12 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons cracked pepper
- 1 onion, in food processor to chop
- 3 cups shiraz, drier the better
- 5 lbs (20 x 4ish oz filets)
Combine ingredients in very large bowl or ziplocks. Refrigerate until needed, at least 4 hours.
- 4 lbs mushrooms
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup shallots
- 1 cup shiraz
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
Finely chop shallots in food processor. Set aside. Chop mushrooms in food processor. Sweat the shallots in the butter over medium to medium-high heat until golden. Add mushrooms, reduce heat to medium until mushrooms just begin rendering liquid. Add salt, pepper, and wine. Reduce until you have about 1/2 cup liquid. Pour off liquid and reserve, add liquid to marinading beef. Place mushrooms covered in a bowl or other container, refrigerate until time to assemble Wellingtons.
Wellington Assembly & Cooking
- 1 sheet of puff pastry will typically make 2 wellingtons, so 50 small sheets (plus another 10 or so for decoration)
- 6 eggs, beaten for egg wash
- beef from above
- mushrooms from above
Remove filets from marinade, pat dry. Reserve marinade. Remove remaining liquid from the mushroom mixture. Place the cut puff pastry on floured surface. Place one spoonful of mushroom duxelle in center, place filet on top of mushrooms, and top with one more spoonful of mushrooms. Carefully draw corners of pastry together, pinching seams. You can seal with eggwash, but this is not necessary. Flip over the wellington, seam-side down. Carefully smush so it sits flat. Apply decorative cutout puff pastry piece on top, eggwash the top. Place 4 rows of 4 wellingtons on cookie sheets for baking. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. If refrigerating longer than an hour or so, cover with plastic wrap. In this state, they can stay in the fridge for more than 24 hours. Preheat oven to 400. Bake for ~30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Tent with foil and bake for another 20 minutes, using thermometer on one test piece to determine done-ness. The ones at the edge of the sheet are rarer, but not much. Serve on plate with a small lake of sauce around the wellington. Garnish with some green parsley or something — we used a single roasted carrot.
Marchand de Vin Sauce
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 stick butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup green onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/2 cup shallots chopped
- pepper, salt
- 1/2 cup shiraz
- reserved marinade
Mix up the reserved marinade. Each batch of sauce will be making a final 2+ cups of sauce, so choose pots accordingly. Sautee shallots and garlic in butter until fragrant, then add flour a little at a time to make nice golden roux. Slowly add 1 C of marinade and stock. Add bay leaf if desired. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until reduced to a little over 2 cups. Just before starting to serve, mix in remaining 1/2 C shiraz. Finished sauce will keep consistency for quite some time at very low heat.
Portobello “Galoshes” (as the vegetarian/vegan version of the Wellingtons came to be known in the kitchen) were based on a recipe that Rose forwarded from a friend of hers. We added more nuts as we thought their roast-y flavor filled out the dish nicely. All the mushrooms used at Camp came from Creekside Mushrooms the world largest underground mushroom farm — found right here in southwestern PA!
Like the Beef Wellingtons, most of the preparation is done in a food processor. We definitely learned a lot about cooking for crowds over the weekend including shortcuts like this: when a recipe calls for quartering mushrooms before putting them in a food processor, skip the knife and just tear them into pieces with your fingers!
(makes 2 servings)
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 inch green onion
- 1 oz pecans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus some for brushing
- 4 oz button & crimini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 portobello mushroom (about 4 oz)
- puff pastry or phyllo dough
Add the garlic, onion, pecans, and oil to a food processor and blend to a coarse, mealy paste. Then add the small mushrooms and process them until they are chopped into relatively small pieces. Brush the portobello with oil and salt it. Stuff it with the nut-mushroom filling and then cut in it half. Wrap each half in pastry and bake at 425 for about 20 minutes. Top with Cashew Parsley sauce. Careful! These will be super hot for several minutes!
Cashew Parsley Sauce
- 2.5 oz cashews, toasted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon soy
- 1/2 tablespoons parsley
- (up to) 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- (up to) 1.5 cups water
Blend everything but the cornstarch and the water to a fine paste. Add the paste, half the water, and half the cornstarch and bring just to a boil. (Rose thought it tasted a little too cornstarch-y with the full tablespoon. We had also run out of soy sauce by Saturday night so we just used extra salt.)
Both meat and veggies were nicely complimented by a red wine: Hoya de Cadenas Tempranillo from Spain.
Desserts were baked, of course, by several busy campers on Saturday afternoon. Dana, Alana, Aaron & Eileen, Sarah Kent, and my mom Cyndi all made pies for the glory of their various teams. The pies were judged to be quite excellent. My grandparents also planned ahead and added a cake to the dessert table for everyone to share. The ice cream served on Saturday (and Sunday morning) came courtesy of Brian, Dana, and Julia from Manning Farm Dairy. The milk came from them too! Hooray!