Friday, May 20, 2011

Jamie Oliver's Ground Beef Wellington

This week was an emotionally draining week for me.  I hosted a bake sale, for a group my daughter belongs to, in hopes of raising money for a sick child.  The bake sale was wonderful and the community was extremely generous.  We raised over $1000! The problem was that no one expected to raise that much money hosting a bake sale and that money, that was meant to do good, ended up causing lots of conflict in the days to come. does things to people, makes them say and do things they wouldn't normally do, like take money from a sick child with a fatal disease.

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
Serves 4

1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1 potato
2 cloves of garlic (I used 5)
2 portobello mushrooms
olive oil
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.


  1. I'm very glad to hear that your prevailed and that all of the money was used for the intended purpose. Had a similar thing happen with a PTA once. Fortunately, was able to use minutes from the meeting to demonstrate that the fundraiser had been voted on and that they would jeopardize their charter if they veered from the course they'd charted. You're so right about money doing strange things to some people. I haven't a beef Wellington in over 30 years. I remember making the duxelles and using store bought puff pastry and how afraid I was I'd overcook the expensive filet of beef. I love the ground meat version and will have to give it a try. Love the new banner (don't know who Heather is, but she did a great job). Hope your weekend is calmer.

  2. I'm so sorry that you had to go through such a horrible experience, but I'm glad that you were able to fight to make sure that right was done. It's sad how selfish people can be sometimes.

    On another note, I love the new header and love how delicious this dish looks!

  3. Big Hugs, made it through this tough week with grace and dignity. (And thanks for the thanks ;-P...tee hee.) AND I'm so glad that you made this recipe- it's one I've been eyeing for a while and wondering how it'd turn out. I thought it looked like a kid pleaser...and I imagine that pie dough would be a good substitute, but fortunately I can find puff pastry pretty readily in the freezer at most of "my" markets. Looks wonderful..and here's to a brighter week!

  4. My mother makes the traditional Beef Wellington once a year (with the pate and all) and we wait and wait and are so fortunate to share that meal. It would be fun to explore your's (and Jamie's) recipe for the simpler version - it does look so satisfying.

    Sometimes - life throws a curve. When I wonder where someone is coming from, I tell myself I am not walking in their shoes. I am pleased the money went where it was supposed to go - not just because of the poignant need but also because when you do something like that - you need to have it sustain its integrity.

  5. I wish people could stick with the original plan.Glad to hear that the dollar raised went to the sick child.

    The Beef Wellington looks delicious well done

  6. I'm so sorry your idea and hard work on something that would mean so much to a child caused nothing but problems. I don't understand what's wrong with people and heaved a sigh of relief when I read you got them to stick to the original plan. Sure makes you rethink your "helpers" doesn't it?

    I think the idea of using ground beef instead of steak is a good one. And pie crust would be every bit as good as puff pastry. Better, maybe.

  7. Sounds like a tough week.
    About the recipe... do you think it could be prepared ahead of time, like say in the morning, put in the fridge and then baked when someone gets home from work. I think it would work but just need some confirmation that it would be okay... :)

  8. Sorry about your tough week Kim and kudos to you for getting all that money to where it was supposed to go! This looks like an extremely easy version of beef wellington. Easy and delicious. I'm dying to try this. I hope this coming week is better for you.....

  9. This really does look wonderful. I'd love to serve this to my family. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  10. Ugh Kim that is TERRIBLE. What is WRONG with people! I'm really glad you got your way in the end but it appalls me that you had to fight to do so! In other happier news, this looks delicious! Love that you subbed in pie crust!

  11. what an ordeal, i'm so sorry! but i'm proud of you for prevailing on your initial wish for a sick child. money really does do crazy things to people.

    i LOVE this recipe, i've been wanting to try beef wellington forever, but could never afford it! this looks perfect for the whole family.

    LOVE the new blog look too, the header is fantastic!

  12. Sorry to hear about your week. I would have been very frustrated too. You are so right; money can make nice people not so nice. Glad you stood your ground.

    This dish looks wonderful. I love the idea to use ground beef in Beef Wellington. It is genius. I am bookmarking. Thanks for another great recipe:)

  13. Love the new look. Heather did a great job on the header.

    Sorry about your week. You're does thing to people. Sometimes strange, ugly things. I'm glad it worked out to as originally planned.

    I've always wanted to try my hand at beef Wellington, but have been intimidated. Maybe ground beef Wellington is a good place to start. It sure does look like a cozy, hug of a meal after a rough week.

  14. Hi Kim, it's been a long time I've not visited.
    Sure glad to hear the bake sale ended on a good note. I always wonder when you see these concoctions of people trying to help out,ie bake sales, gathering money in coffee cans on street corners, and at your local quick marts if the money really gets to the victim(s) in need.
    Bet with ground beef the pie crust holds up better than the puff pastry any way. Gonna make this also.

  15. Kim, I admire your integrity in fighting for what's right. That's despicable for anyone to think of stealing money from a sick child. I noticed your new header, too. What a nice friend!
    I try to stock up on puff pastry, whenever I am at Whole Foods. I doubt I'd want to take on making it myself. (By the way, there's a Blitz Puff Pastry I found on the King Arthur website that I've made, and it's surpisingly easy and very good.) The wellington looks delicious, and the crust looks perfectly tender. Great post!

  16. I'm really glad you stuck to your guns! Money does do bad things to some people. You are a good person to keep things on track. Love your new header

  17. Glad to hear that you were able to have the family get 100%! Good for you for sticking to what you knew was right. Shame on those other people.
    The Beef Wellington looks amazing!

  18. I am glad you are feeling better and proud of you for standing your ground and making sure the right thing was done.

    This does look like a family-pleasing recipe--Yum! And I love the new header--it looks great. ;-)

  19. I'm so proud of you for standing up for what you believe in. And glad it finally worked out in the end.
    What a fabulous idea for a Wellie! Definitely makes it family friendly.

  20. wow so sorry for all the stress you went through thats awful your right should have all gone to the family
    love the new header looks fab and what a lovely meal

    hugs Rebecca

  21. Wow, money really does mess people up. As if $1000 would ever be too much for someone battling a catastrophic disease. Glad the side of logic and good prevailed :) Never had beef wellington, but it looks delish!

  22. Oh, Kim, I am so sorry that all your hard work and obvious success ended in such a horrible ordeal, but I am so proud to know you and that you were able to see to it that in the end the right outcome prevailed.

    I am totally loving the idea of using the ground beef in this Wellington - that is really inspiring and has got me thinking of all kinds of possibilities. Looks absolutely wonderful, and I can imagine that it would go down well in my household.

    By the way, love the new look and the beautiful new header that Heather made you :-)

    Sue xo

  23. People...geesh...I am so sorry you had to deal with that as it should never have turned into such an ordeal. Proud of you!!

    That beef wellington looks great and as always, you write well, make it all so appealing and fun to read your posts :-)

    (Usually my comments come up signed Pierce but...I am having a sign in problem.)

  24. It's funny what a little money will do to some people! Talk about greedy. I'm sorry you had to go through that Kim but so glad you stuck up for what you knew was right. And I bet the family really appreciated all of your efforts! Your Wellington look incredible - I like the idea of pie crust more so than puff pastry. I want to make it!

  25. Kim, just coming back to say I'm making this on Friday - can't wait!

  26. Kim, We make this several times each year and it's always a hit, now it being requested as a birthday meal. I guess I'm lucky in that I can find the puff pastry in the freezer section. As far as making this in advance I would mix up the meat and place the puff pastry in the fridge to thaw and do the final assembly at the last minute, if anyone makes it up ahead of time and it works please let me know.

  27. Nice recipe and great tutorial as well. Thanks for the share. I love this recipe and enjoy with ur words!
    Beef wellington recipe

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