Throughout the week my temper flared as I listened to people contemplate what to do with "all that money." The original plan was that 100% of the bake sale proceeds would go to the child and his family. So imagine how floored I was when alternate plans were made. I listened as different ideas were tossed around about how to spend he money, including ideas about taking almost half of the money and using it for something else entirely. I can honestly tell you that I don't think I've ever been as upset as I was this week. Something about taking money away from a sick child with a fatal disease really had me feeling quite fierce. Needless to say, things got pretty ugly. In the end I was able to achieve my goal, which was that the child and his family received 100% of the proceeds. It's a damn shame how I had to go about it though.
I want to give a big thank you to my pals Deb of Kahakai Kitchen, Heather of Girlichef, and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. Thank you for letting me share my story with you and for all of your kind words and support throughout this week. Also, a big thanks to Heather who knew that I was feeling down and cheered me up with a sweet and thoughtful surprise...a new header for my blog! She chose the pictures and put it together all on her own and it totally made my day. It puts a smile on my face every time I look at it, thanks Heather!
To celebrate the end of a horrible week and put everything behind me, I wanted to make something fun. I ended up choosing Jamie's Ground Beef Wellington. I love the idea of using humble ground beef in place of beef tenderloin - genius! The only problem was that I couldn't find the puff pastry anywhere, can you believe that? I'm almost convinced that puff pastry doesn't exist here in Kentucky. I was feeling stubborn (ha ha...imagine that) and I was really stuck on the idea of Ground Beef Wellington, so I decided to go for it anyway and subbed pie crust. While pie crust and puff pastry are two different things it worked brilliantly and was a huge hit.
Ground Beef Wellington
Adapted from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
1 medium onion
1 celery stalk
2 cloves of garlic (I used 5)
2 portobello mushrooms
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
a big handful of frozen peas
1 large egg
1 pound good-quality ground beef (I used 95% lean)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
all purpose flour, for dusting
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted (I used 2 frozen and defrosted pie shells)
To prepare your ground beef:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel and chop the onion, carrot, celery, and potato into 1/4-inc-sized dice. Finely grate the garlic. Clean and roughly chop the mushrooms so they're about the same size as your other veggies. Place all the veggies into a large frying pan on a medium low heat with 2 lugs of olive oil. Pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalks, finely chop them, and add to the pan. Fry and stir another minute. Put the veggie mixture into a large bowl to cool completely. Crack the egg into a cup and beat it up. Add the ground beef to the bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper and half the beaten egg. With clean hands, scrunch and mix up well.
To roll and fill your pastry:
Lightly dust your clean work surface and rolling pin with flour and lay the puff pastry (or pie crust) one of top of the other. Roll out the puff pastry so it is roughly a rectangle 12x16 inches. Dust with flour as you go. Turn your pastry so you have a long edge in front of you and place the ground beef mixture along this edge. Mold it into an even, long sausage shape. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg. Roll the ground beef up in the pastry until it's covered completely. Squeeze the ends together - it will look like a big Christmas cracker! Dust a large cookie pan with flour and place your Wellington on top. Brush all over with the rest of the beaten egg. Bake in the preheated oven for an hour until golden.
To serve your Wellington:
Slice the Wellington up into portions at the table. Lovely served with some lightly boiled or steamed greens, cabbage tossed in a little butter, or mashed potatoes.
Notes/Results: This was good comfort food that the family really enjoyed. It was both fun to make and also to present on the table. I also think this is a kid-friendly meal because my ten year old daughter gobbled it up and asked for more (and she usually doesn't do that). I do have some notes to share though. Since I couldn't find the puff pastry, I used two frozen and defrosted pie shells, which I rolled out to accommodate the beef filling. I did have some leftover beef filling, only using about 3/4ths of the beef for the Wellington. I think I can manage finding other uses for the beef filling though:) I also think that if you make this recipe then you need to use a lean ground beef, otherwise the grease might cause the bottom of the puff pastry/pie dough to become soggy, etc. I used a 95% lean ground beef and it worked perfect in this recipe. Another great idea would be to place the Wellington on a rack on top of the cookie sheet so that the air can circulate and crisp the bottom of the crust. I wouldn't hesitate to make this again.