beef fillet stuffed with porcini
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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.
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.
beef fillet stuffed with porciniServings: 4Time: about an hour
- 1lb beef fillet, middle cut
- 30g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 tbsp. butter
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan
- a little oil, for roasting
1. Prepare the stuffing: soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for at least 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid.
2. Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat; add the drained mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium-high, add a third of the soaking liquid, cover with the lid and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until all the liquid is gone and there’s hardly any moisture in the pan.
3. Blitz the mushrooms coarsely in a blender and transfer to a bowl. Add the parsley and Parmesan, mix well and check for seasoning.
4. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. Place the beef fillet on a chopping board and make an incision across the length at two thirds of its thickness. Turn the meat around 180 degrees and make another incision from the middle towards the edge at a third of the fillet’s thickness. You should get a flat piece of beef three times wider than originally.
5. Spread the mushroom stuffing evenly over the inside of the filet. Roll it back up and tie with a butcher string in several places.
6. Brush it lightly with oil, place it on a roasting dish and roast for 20 minutes (20 mins per pound if you’re cooking a larger joint).
7. Rest the beef for at least 10 minutes, remove the string, slice and serve.