Making Emeril’s Beef Wellington: Part 1
A little while ago I put making Beef Wellington on a list of 10 Weird Things I’d Like to Do Before I Die. So this weekend I’m setting out to make Emeril’s Individual Beef Wellingtons to prove that that odd little bucket list isn’t just for show.
I like to cook sometimes, and I love hanging out in the kitchen with Dan. (We had loads of fun last summer making Julia’s Beef Bourguignon.) However, I’m not exactly what you’d call a foodie or a food blogger. I don’t have sexy knife skills, I’ve never eaten liver pâté before, and I’m mostly afraid of touching raw meat with my bare hands.
Now that your expectations have been sufficiently managed, let me give you a little background on this project.
Why Beef Wellington?
There are a few reasons why I want to make this dish.
First, I love Gordon Ramsay. Ramsay is famous for his Beef Wellington, and I would have used his recipe rather than Emeril’s except for two things: my brain was too tired to think in metric and the individual recipe seemed better suited for this dinner for two. Yes, I know, Ramsay is an ass, but I still watch all of his shows. I like that he swears incessantly and makes professional chefs cry, yet still manages to be more loveable than Anthony Bourdain.
Next, I like to be challenged in the kitchen, and I like to try new foods. Stick a filet in some puff pastry with pasty mushrooms and duck liver? Hellzyeah! Ten-year-old me wouldn’t have eaten this stuff in a million years. Shoot, twenty-year-old me wouldn’t have tried it either. As a general rule, I hate mushrooms. But I might like ‘em like this. Right?
Finally, I heard this crazy tale about Beef Wellington being invented so that Christians could hide their meat eating from God during Lent. (Isn’t that just the best thing you’ve heard this week?)
I imagine the conversation going something like this: “But Thomas, you know we can’t have meat for supper tonight. It’s Lent! God will surely smite us!”
“Oh, just wrap it in puff pastry, Rachel. He’ll never know the difference.”
Now, I haven’t verified that this legend is entirely true (and please, school us all if you’re in the know), but it’s fantastic nonetheless.
Getting the Ingredients
That first picture is me at the Moody’s Butcher Shop in Avon, Indiana. Now, Dan and I actually intended to make Beef Wellington over the 4th of July holiday, but do you know what you find when you get to the butcher one hour before close on the Saturday of a Super Mega Cookout Weekend? A raped display case with a couple of brat burgers and a few pounds of ground beef cowering in a far corner.
I would like to make a quick plug for local butchers. I was first introduced to Moody through my Green B.E.A.N. delivery. Their meat is two hundred times better than any similar product I’ve eaten from anywhere else. The animals are raised right, and I value that. I’ve accepted that I’m a life-long omnivore, but I love animals and I take the circumstances of their lives and death pretty seriously. I’m not perfect, but I’ll gladly spend extra money for cage-free eggs and purchase meat that comes from local cows that spend their time on this earth hunting grass.
If you have never eaten meat from a local butcher, put it on your bucket list now. I’ll wait.
We also went to a local farmer’s market and a grocery store whose name shall not be uttered on this blog.
Making Emeril’s Beef Wellington: Part 2 Coming Soon
The puff pastry is thawing and I’m excited to dive into this recipe tomorrow afternoon. Later on in the week, I’ll have pictures posted, and you can find out whether Dan and I were successful in this culinary endeavor. Wish us luck!