Recipe Review: comfort food all dressed up.
I had a really crappy day at work. I was tired, and crabby, and I had just about had it with people asking me how long the 2 hour harbor cruise lasts. I needed a cooking project to throw myself into. Something adventurous that would help me unwind and make me forget about work. I was looking something comforting, and I came across Beef Wellington. Which looked awesome- but oh crap that was a bit over my head and involved a full day (or even days) of prep. I liked the idea of beef though, so I came up with the idea of doing spinach instead of mushrooms, and stuffing the beef- then covering it in puff pastry. I had my mission and set out to the store- tenderloin was on sale- score!
Fennel & Rosemary Encrusted Beef Tenderloin
adapted from Fine Cooking & Cooking Light
yield: 4-5 servings
1 2lb beef tenderloin, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package frozen spinach
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
freshly ground salt & pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 sheets of puff pastry
Preheat oven to 350.
Defrost spinach and drain well. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots and sauté 4 minutes. Add spinach and garlic to shallots and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon each fresh ground salt & pepper. Place spinach mixture into a colander and press with the back of a spoon to drain any excess liquid.
Use a knife to poke a hole through the middle of the tenderloin, and the handle of a wooden spoon to increase the diameter to approximately 2 inches. Stuff with the spinach mixture.
In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, rosemary, fennel, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to make a paste. Rub the paste all over the outside of the tenderloin.
Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a large pan. Gently sear tenderloin for 1 one minute on each side.
Lay out 3 pieces of puff pastry, brushing each lightly with butter before layering on next piece. Gently wrap the paper around the beef, sealing edges with butter. Bake for 35- 40 minutes, until internal meat temperature reaches 120°F for rare, 125° to 130°F for medium rare, or 135°F for medium. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Nutrition Information: Calories 577, Fat 31.3g, Sat. Fat 12.6g Cholesterol 188mg, Sodium 406mg, Carbohydrates 16.4g, Fiber 2.2g, Protein 56.3g
I could tell right away from how this smelled that it was going to taste good- but it was far better than just good. It was rich beef with a savory crust and tender spinach. Things just rolled together to make an excellent meal. I love when trying something new and experimenting yields great results. The combination of the fennel and rosemary was a perfect mix of flavors, and very fragrant while cooking. The original recipe said to tie the tenderloin with butchers twine, but since I wrapped the roast with the puff pastry sheets I skipped that step. Honestly most of the pastry fell off while carving the meat so I'm not sure how necessary this step was. I served this with baby carrots and a mixed mash from three potatoes. I used one russet potato, one sweet potato, and one yam. It was a nice change up from regular mashed potatoes and a little sweet but not too much. This was a little labor intensive- but totally worth it. I would absolutely make it again for a special dinner. Making the rub for the outside of the meat was very easy however. If you skip the stuffing and wrapping in puff pastry this could be a quick weeknight meal.
***Side Note: Blogging has won me something!! I entered a cookbook giveaway from Galexi Cupcakes... and I won!! I can't wait to get my new dessert cookbook in the mail :-)