Friday, March 2, 2012

Beef Wellington Hand Pies

I've always wanted to make beef Wellington but was a little intimidated by the work involved in making the real thing. Add to that the fact that I rarely have that much time to prepare a meal and well, I've never made it. Last Christmas I received a copy of the Harry Potter Cookbook. There are several recipes in it for "pasties" or hand pies. These are pretty common in the UK and are really tasty. They are basically like little pot pies with all sorts of meat and vegetable fillings.

I had bookmarked a recipe for Beef Cornish Pasties and had planned to make it this week when I ran across this recipe for Beef Wellington Hand Pies. I was so excited to finally be able to try to make an easy version of beef Wellington that I immediately started making them, without checking to see if I had all of the ingredients first. Low and behold, I was out of red wine. The horror! How could I let this happen!?! I ran upstairs to my awesome neighbor to steal 1/4 cup for the recipe. She sent me home with the entire bottle. Because really, it would be a tragedy to not be able to have a glass or three with dinner. I love her. :)

The recipe itself is not what I would call "easy" but it isn't difficult either. It is pretty time consuming but you could make a large batch and freeze some to have at another time.

The flavor was really good and it went well with the Merlot I was drinking that night. I will definitely be making these again.

A couple of tips to help things go more smoothly:

Keep your puff pastry dough in the fridge while you are working. It gets really gooey and hard to handle if you let it sit out.

I found it was easier to move the pies from the rolling surface to the baking sheet if I waited for the meat to be cool before filling the pies. Filling them while the meat was warm ended up making the bottom of the pie gooey and difficult to pick up.

Beef Wellington Hand Pies
Adapted from Caitlin's Cooking

3 Sheets Puff Pastry, thawed
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
1 Tablespoon Butter or Margarine
2 Cups Cremini Mushrooms, diced
1 Sweet Onion, diced
1 10 oz Bag Frozen Peas and Carrots
2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 Cup Red Wine
2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 Large Egg

  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef.
  2. Drain the beef and set aside.
  3. Heat the butter and olive oil in the skillet.
  4. Add the onions, mushrooms, peas and carrots.
  5. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and thyme.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the red wine.
  8. Stir in the cream and Worcestershire sauce.
  9. Add the beef and mix thoroughly.
  10. Remove from heat.
  11. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  12. Heat the oven to 400F.
  13. Roll a sheet of puff pastry out to about 1/8" thickness.
  14. Cut the sheet into four equal size squares.
  15. Spoon the beef mixture onto one half of each square, leave about 1/2" at the edges.
  16. Whisk the egg with a little water to create an egg wash.
  17. Lightly brush the edges of the pastry squares with the egg wash.
  18. Fold the pastry tops over the meat to create the pies.
  19. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal.
  20. Arrange the pies on the prepared baking sheet.
  21. Repeat steps 13-20 with the remaining two puff pastry sheets and filling.
  22. Once all of the pies are made and on the baking sheet, brush the top of each one with egg wash.
  23. Cut two small slits in the top of each pie, for venting.
  24. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Yields: 12 servings

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