Sunday, 7 February 2010

Minced Beef Wellington

I made this for dinner last night, and as it wasn't a spectacular success, I wasn't sure whether to blog about it. But I decided to add it anyway, if only to remind myself how it turned out.

When I say it wasn't a success, it wasn't that no one liked it, because it was eaten and enjoyed. But I wasn't sure the time and effort it took was worth the result. Although as I discovered the next day, it tastes much nicer when it's cold.

(This recipe is from Jamie Oliver's book Ministry of Food.)

Firstly fry all the chopped vegetables in a large frying pan, in a little olive oil. Add a generous handful of frozen peas - or sweetcorn, which is what I used. Put them in a large bowl and allow to cool.

Add minced beef, egg, salt and pepper; and I also added a couple of shakes of Worcestershire sauce because I couldn't see how this wasn't going to turn out to be very bland otherwise!

Roll out the pastry to the size of a small tea towel (according to JO) or if you've got the ready-rolled pastry, defrost 4 or so slices.

Shape meat mixture into a sausage shape - or if you've got the square pastry, it's going to be several sausage shapes. Put the 'sausage' at one end and roll it all up. (If you have a tea towel-shaped bit of pastry, place it along the long edge.)

Roll it up completely...

...and then seal the ends. I used egg along the edges, but in the end I decided I would have been better with no 'glue' as the pastry was quite gummy already and the egg was making things more slippery.

I ended up making some little pasties aswell.

Put them on a baking tray, brush with egg and cook at 180 C for an hour. In the photos in the book, there are no slits cut in the top to let out steam, but I thought it was better to have them.

The cooked pies aren't very pretty! There was quite a lot of leaking out of the holes. But they got eaten up, with tomato sauce, and were quite filling.

I suppose my problem with this is that the filling was a little bland (I know I didn't follow the recipe exactly but I don't think that would have made a lot of difference) but then I'm not a big fan of meat pie in any form - I find they often have an unappetising 'steamy' flavour - so maybe that's why it didn't appeal to me much.

Part of one of the long 'wellingtons' was left over, and I kept it in the fridge overnight. We ate it at lunch time, and it was actually *much* nicer cold. So I would suggest this would make a good lunch dish or picnic food, cooked the day before.

1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 potato, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 large flat mushrooms, finely chopped (I left this out)
2 cloves garlic, minced/grated - I chopped mine finely
4 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped (I used one sprig)

a big handful frozen peas (I used frozen corn)
1 large egg, beaten
500g good quality minced beef
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g puff pastry, or 4 or 5 sheets of ready-rolled


Coby said...

I'm not sure exactly why it is, especially with simple flavours but serving dishes like this, warm rather than hot, they have more flavour. They look good Arista, and *I* am tempted:) Do you think Jamie kept these simple for the benefit of those new to cooking *and* flavours? Would a few herbs have helped? Thanks for blogging about the recipe even if you weren't over impressed. That is a book I have been wondering about buying and would be happy to see more recipes from it..hint hint;)

I'll have my slice with some hot English mustard and sweet soy thanks:)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I sometimes do dishes like that where I'm not sure whether to blog about them but then my husband says that I should and I know he is right! I guess it's good to know in case you want to make it. It still looks pretty good to me! :)

arista said...

Lorraine - I agree - I think it's good not to only blog about total successes - when things don't turn out 100% that's just life!

Coby - lots of recipes in this book have strong flavours, so I think it's just that this is one of those old-fashioned meals that JO hasn't tampered with too much. I suppose not everything we eat has to be strongly flavoured, eg Shepherd's Pie wouldn't be right if it was blasting your taste buds! So I suppose this recipe could do with a bit more oomph in my opinion, but it's just supposed to be one of those simple meals that isn't filled with chilli or exotic herbs and spices!
I'll continue to cook from the book, but I'm not sure if it's the book for you - I don't think it would teach you a lot you don't already know. Maybe you could borrow it from the library?

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

It's always a shame when the anticipation and effort don't quite eventuate in the finished product! Although they certainly look wonderful, although I feel like there's not much nicer than the sight of a pie :D

Cynthia said...


inspirebte said...

Looks good, filling; fills you up, but is unfulfilling in the taste dept. As it stands, a bit of a disappointment this one.

Hot pepper sauce livens it up though!