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What to cook this week

Right: the Big Day is slowly starting to loom on the horizon or, in moronic Facebookspeak, there are 21 sleeps left till Christmas. I can't readily think of a more annoying expression: what if I stay up all night? What if I take a nap during the day? Then I'm clearly screwed and Christmas will pass me by.

But it won't: I've started on mince pies already. I must average about 90 to 100 pies a ...READ MORE

Thursday, 8 December, 2016

Beef roulade with porcini

RECIPE NAME: beef fillet stuffed with porcini

Beef fillet stuffed with porcini

Beef wellington might be a very nice dish but it’s so much faff. The beef fillet needs to be seared, and then left to stand so that when it goes into the oven in its blanket of pastry, you have not a flying clue how cooked it already is. Truffles? Foie gras? What if you host truffle objectors or goose rights activists? You’re stuffed, not the wellington. The next hurdle: beef will cook quicker than the pastry (at least if you want it properly pink) so in the end you have to face serving overdone beef in crispy pastry or pale and limpid parcels that half the guests will be furiously scraping the stuffing from, sending you resentful glances.

I must be painfully honest and admit I’ve not actually cooked a wellington from scratch. But as plainly seen above, I can visualise the process from the beginning to end, assess as not worth the bother and go to produce something else.

Like the roulade stuffed with wild mushrooms.

The first good thing about it is that we don’t bother with truffles or foie gras - the beef fillet costs a packet already. Dried porcini mushrooms are of course second best to fresh ones, but second to none in the dried mushroom department. Rehydrated, they will almost fool you.

The execution could not be easier: if you get a nice middle cut of fillet - but frankly any part will go - all you do is open it up like a book with a sharp knife, spread with the stuffing and roll it up again. Roasting time, as ever for beef, 20 minutes per pound in low oven.

Beef and mushroom tenderloin roulade

And it’s so delicious, flavoursome and fragrant with the mushrooms you won’t be missing that limp or too-browned puff pastry for one second.


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