Monday, August 14, 2017

Bistro Fillet Wellington

A while back I wrote about the Bistro Fillet aka the Teres Major Steak  and since than I have been creating recipes around this awesome meat. The steak is so versatile it could be used in just about any dish calling for red meat. Anyhow I thought it would go great in a Beef Wellington. And it gives me an excuse to use my Bavagool . In this post I won't go into a lot of detail but will supply several links within my blog/posts that will give you some insight and details about what it is I am doing. 

Dry-Brining with .60% salt. I.E if steak weighs 1000 grams I am going to use 6 grams of salt. Multiply 1000 grams X .60% or .06 = 6 grams . After you calculate the salt needed coat the fillets. Why Dry-Brine? Also HERE and HERE.

All Vac packed up. The fillets will be given a Warm Aged bath that will last 2 hrs at 104 f. 

I prefer the temp of 133 f for the Teres Major but since I am going to be using several cooking techniques for the wellington I better err on the side of caution and cook them at 127 f. If you think about it for a moment the steaks will be SV, Seared than roasted in the oven. I want to avoid the inevitable increase to the internal temp as much as possible. It's bound to happen but this should help a bit. 

All done!!! They were shocked and set in the refrigerator for a few hours. 

The refrigeration will help mitigate the increased temp caused by the additional cooking during the sear. Note: I prepared the meat in advance. So in other words if I was doing everything in one day I would still shock and refrigerate to bring down the temp prior to the sear.

Now on to the Mushroom Stuffing 

Chop up some Shallots and Cremini Mushrooms.

A hunk of meat preferably fatty and cured all chopped up. I used my Bavagool.

A few garlic cloves chopped up.

Some toasted Pine nuts too.

A few tablespoons of chopped up Sun-dried tomatoes and Italian Parsley.

A good quality Balsamic Vinegar. You're only going to need a few tablespoons but it makes all the difference in the world. And last but not least Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese.

Toss mushrooms in a  large skillet and season with salt and pepper. The salt will help draw out some moisture. When the mushrooms start to take on some color add the onions. Saute for a few minutes.

Add the cured meat and saute for about 5-6 minutes to render some of that fat. Add Tomatoes and garlic. 

Add the parsley and keep tasting. At this point I added smidgens of thyme, basil, oregano , tomato powder (I had some), onion powder and finally paprika. Finish by adding the pine-nuts. 

Add the cheese..... I love cheese. After fully incorporated I added the vinegar. Keep adding and keep tasting. 
Did you get it right? If not keep adjusting. Do you need to add sugar? I didn't but you may have too. 

All done!!! Refrigerate until the next step or continue. 

Using a food processor grind until a paste forms. Refrigerate until your ready for the next step. Note: I prepared this in advance. 


Remove meat from vac bags and dry off very well. Spray with a little oil. Add additional seasoning if you so desire. Do not use additional salt. Place these babies in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes before you fry them. Getting them very cold will prevent an increase to the internal temp.

Save the purge for the the link. 

Cover Fillet in AP flour. This will help with the searing and create a great crust.

Sear until nice and dark!!
Cool off and place in freezer for a rapid chill.

 By now I sure you  figured out this dish is all about timing and logistics. You can do many of these steps way in advance. At the end I will tell you what I did.

Almost there..... encapsulating the fillet in meat and mushroom mash. Lay down some plastic wrap. The wrap has to be wide enough and long enough to hold and wrap the entire meat and stuffing. Choose your favorite cured meat. I chose of course my Bavagool but if I did not have that on hand I would have chosen my VAM or Vealcetta.

Cover the meat with the mushroom mixture. Coat the meat with your favorite mustard (I used Dijon) and lay across the mushroom mixture.

Using plastic wrap as your guide roll up the Fillet into a cylinder. Roll the cylinder tight and twist the ends in the opposite direction. Twisting the ends in the opposite will make the cylinder taut. Now you need to store this in the refrigerator and get it very cold. Don't forget you will need to roll this in puff pastry. If the meat is warm or at room temp the it will affect the overall internal temp. This is very tricky. The goal is to sufficiently bake the outside of the puff pastry to a golden brown and not overcook the meat. Prior to working with the puff pastry I shoved the now very cold rolled meat into the freezer for about 20 minutes. 

Roll out the puff pastry and figure out how much you will need for each roll. I only needed two sheets which I connected and divided them into 3. If you have a good eye and if you have worked with puff pastry before this is easy. 

I placed all three rolls into the puff pastry to make sure I measured correctly. Let's be honest here I eyeballed the whole thing.

I used a combination of Eggs, Cream and water as my glue. Using a pastry brush I coated the perimeter of the pastry and rolled them up tucking the ends under each other. 

I preheated the oven to 400f. I took the egg wash and smeared the outside of the puff pastry. I topped with more seasonings. If you have leftover pastry you can decorated the top. Also make several slashes along the top so air can escape. Don't forget this step please. 

How to Bake!! Pay attention or your masterpiece will turn out poorly. BTW- The pics below are not the best..... time to upgrade the camera.  

So first we have to establish what our goals are and than decided how we are going to accomplish them. 
  • Goal 1- Brown the outside without over cooking the inside. 
  • Goal 2- Internal temp needs to be between 127-133 f (133 is highest it can go)
  • Goal 3- Accomplish Goal 1 & 2. 
Preheat oven to 400f. Use an in oven digital thermometer and shove into the smallest Beef Wellington. The temp should be pretty cold. Don't forget we are trying to brown the outside without over doing the inside. Shove everything into the oven. Watch and observe. If the outside becomes brown and the internal temp of the meat hits your target temp you've accomplished Goal 1 & 2. If you find that the outside has not browned sufficiently but the inside is getting up there that means you the meat cylinder was not cold enough. This is tricky and not easy to do. If the puff pastry browns quickly and the internal temp hits 120 f this will suffice too. If you want to go a little longer to get the inside a little warmer turn down the oven temp. There will be a little carry over cooking so take this into consideration too. 

What I did.....

  • Brine Meat
  • SV
  • Shock for 2 hours 
  • Refrigerate until I was ready for the next step. For me it was 3 days.
  • Make Mushroom stuffing and grind up... I did this the day before I made the cylinders.
  • Make Cylinders.... 1 day before Puff Pastry
  • Finish!!!! 
  • Tada....
  • Create your own schedule. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sous-Vide Smashed, Fried and Baked New Potatoes

Oh no not another Sous-Vide Potato Dish. Yea but this one is over the top and unique. What makes this potato dish unlike the others is the multiple cooking techniques needed. By cooking them via the SV we get the flawless buttery internal texture we need. This softened texture is necessary to properly smash the pots into the correct shape. The frying adds another level of flavor which we call the maillard effect. What brings it all together is the baking which infuses all the flavors. 

A little tidbit from me. After writing the above paragraph someone on FaceBook asked me what a New Potato was and if I grew them myself. Before we move on I want to touch on what a New (Small) Potato is and what sets them apart. A New Potato has been freshly dug up and brought to market without curing. What is curing? Curing "cures" allows any cuts or bruises on the Pots to heal. They do this on a large scale which is nothing more than placing Pots in a dark cool spot 55-60 f with high humidity for a period of time. After the elapsed time they are moved to a dark colder environment for winter storage.  

Place all of the Pots (similar size hopefully) in vac bags. Make sure they're not stacked on eachother or they will not cook evenly. Sous-Vide at 186 f for 2 hours. This will make them softer than normal but will make them easier to smash. After 2 hours, shock in an ice bath and refrigerate. I prefer to work with cold pots for the next couple of steps. 

Place Pots in colander and set a fan in front of them. Wet Pots will not fry very well. You need these skins be completely dry in order to get a crusty dark skin to form.

Using the back of something flat (spray with oil to prevent sticking) press down gently until potato flattens a bit. Don't be too aggressive other wise you will destroy the potato. 

Coat with some starch such as flour to help aid in the frying. The starch will absorb the excess water. 
Fry until golden brown. I use Schmaltz  as my fat. You can use any fat you want but using rendered chicken fat is the bomb. Chicken fat brings tremendous flavor to the dish. Click the link to learn how to make your own. If you're like me you have a lot of potatoes so you will have to do them in batches. Drain on paper towels and set them aside making sure not crush. You want to try to keep the shape of the potato as much as possible so be gentle. While frying make sure to add the salt, pepper and what ever spices you wish. 

At least one large Onion and 4-7 cloves of garlic chopped up. 

A bunch of chopped up green onion and cilantro.

A bunch of Thyme tied up. The Zest of one lemon and the juice standing by.

These are gribenes. Gribenes are the by product of Schmaltz.  These are basically the cracklings of the fried chicken. Chop these babies up. This ingredient is optional but it takes the dish to a whole new level so if you have them use them. I always have them on hand. 

Sun Dried Tomatoes are just an optional ingredient. Sometimes I like to add a few tablespoons to the dish. Sometimes packed in olive oil and sometimes dried. Make sure to chop them up. A little goes a long way. 

Get ready go.........

Saute the onions for a few minutes in your favorite fat. Toss in garlic. Add the Gribenes if you have any. Now toss in Sundried Toms if you using. Saute for a few minutes. Don't forget to season!!

Pour in chicken stock and some heavy whipping cream. The ratios for stock and cream are about 6 to 1. I didn't measure because I never know how many pounds of Potatoes I will be using. Add some grated parmesan cheese to taste. Toss in cilantro and green onion. Wrap the Thyme up in butcher's twine and toss in sauce. Cook the thyme in the sauce for at least 5 minutes. keep tasting and adjust from there. When you think it tastes good remove the bundle of thyme. Now add the zest. Add about a 1 tsp of lemon juice to start out with. The citrus will help cut through the fat.

Keep tasting..... And when you're happy move on to the next step.

Gently fold in Potatoes making sure not to crush. Make sure all the Pots get covered in sauce. Keep tasting.... I added more cheese, green onion and black pepper.

 Now add everything to a baking dish and top with more cheese, green onion, cilantro and a little panko bread crumbs....
Bake at 350 f until bubbly.... all done.