Cook N Bake British Series: Beef Wellington

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake British Series Beef WEllington

If you are one of those people that love to learn the history of a dish, you will find particularly interesting this week’s dish: Beef Wellington, one of the most known English culinary trademarks.
Wrapped in puff party, Beef Wellington is nothing less than a baked tenderloin coated with pate’ and duxelles, sometimes with the addition of spices.

The name of Wellington seems to be linked to the 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, who seemed to love beef, wine, pate’ and mushrooms. It’s also possible that more than a connection to his love for food, the dish was named Wellington because it was shaped like a military boot that the Duke used to wear. However like it often happens with drinks and dishes that became so popular that anyone wanted to claim their origin, there are other theories of how it generated, such as a variation of the French filet de boeuf in croute adapted for the English, or the use of this dish for parties and receptions in New Zealand. All of the mystery, of course, just contributes to increase the curiosity and appreciation of this dish.

Beef Wellington is not so easy to make, the tenderloin needs to be rare-roasted and before baking it needs to be coated with pate’ and duxelles. It’s better to bake it whole in order to retain most of the juice, but if preferred it can be sliced prior to baking and cook in individual portions.

If you like your tenderloin with lots of flavor, curry, ginger, allspice can be added to Beef Wellington.

Ingredients:

a good beef fillet (preferably Aberdeen Angus) of around 1kg/2lb 4oz
3 tbsp olive oil
250g/ 9oz chestnut mushroom, include some wild ones if you like
50g/ 2oz butter
1 large sprig fresh thyme
100ml/ 3½ fl oz dry white wine
12 slices prosciutto
500g/1lb 2oz pack puff pastry, thawed if frozen
a little flour, for dusting
2 egg yolks beaten with 1 tsp water

Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Sit the 1kg beef fillet on a roasting tray, brush with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with pepper, then roast for 15 mins for medium-rare or 20 mins for medium. When the beef is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven to cool, then chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.
While the beef is cooling, chop 250g chestnut (and wild, if you like) mushrooms as finely as possible so they have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor to do this, but make sure you pulse-chop the mushrooms so they don’t become a slurry.
Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 50g butter in a large pan and fry the mushrooms on a medium heat, with 1 large sprig fresh thyme, for about 10 mins stirring often, until you have a softened mixture. Season the mushroom mixture, pour over 100ml dry white wine and cook for about 10 mins until all the wine has been absorbed. The mixture should hold its shape when stirred. Remove the mushroom duxelle from the pan to cool and discard the thyme.
Overlap two pieces of cling film over a large chopping board. Lay 12 slices prosciutto on the cling film, slightly overlapping, in a double row. Spread half the duxelles over the prosciutto, then sit the fillet on it and spread the remaining duxelles over. Use the cling film’s edges to draw the prosciutto around the fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of cling film to tighten it as you go. Chill the fillet while you roll out the pastry.
Dust your work surface with a little flour. Roll out a third of the 500g pack of puff pastry to a 18 x 30cm strip and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Roll out the remainder of the 500g pack of puff pastry to about 28 x 36cm. Unravel the fillet from the cling film and sit it in the centre of the smaller strip of pastry. Beat the 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water and brush the pastry’s edges, and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet. Using a rolling pin, carefully lift and drape the larger piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing well into the sides. Trim the joins to about a 4cm rim. Seal the rim with the edge of a fork or spoon handle. Glaze all over with more egg yolk and, using the back of a knife, mark the beef Wellington with long diagonal lines taking care not to cut into the pastry. Chill for at least 30 mins and up to 24 hrs.
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Brush the Wellington with a little more egg yolk and cook until golden and crisp – 20-25 mins for medium-rare beef, 30 mins for medium. Allow to stand for 10 mins before serving in thick slices.

~Enjoy!

Image © Tim Winter
Recipe from Good Food Magazine, Dec. 2004

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Cook N Bake German Series: Beef Rouladen

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake German Series Beef Rouladen

This week’s recipe come from one of the Southern states of Germany: Baden-Wuttemberg, one of the largest states in the country that confines with three other German states as well as with Austria and Switzerland. This is where the famous Black Forest is located, but also car makers such as Porsche, and Audi! As a matter of fact tourism and automobile industries are extremely important for Baden-Wuttemberg.
In terms of cooking, we find three different ways of cooking in this region: Baden Cooking, Franconian Cooking and Swabian Cooking. Soups and pasta are typical of the Swabian region; Bratwurst, cabbage and potatoes are popular in the Franconian Cooking; cheese, meat and cakes are typical of the Baden Cooking.
The dish that we selected from this state is called Beef Rouladen (the term comes from the French “rouler“, to roll): it a slice of beef rolled on a filling of bacon, onions, mustard and pickles, covered with wine stock and cooked. You can also use pork meat as a filling, or Black Forest Ham.
The origin of this dish is humble: in times of poverty all that people could grow in their garden was the main resource for cooking. Round steak, also known as rump steak was the cheapest meat you could findt, and the preparation was relatively easy. So easy – and inexpensive – that was made for German troops during the war, yet it became a Thanksgiving and Christmas dish.

Commonly served with potatoes, cabbage, or spatzle, and covered in gravy, this dish can be a delicious entree for both holiday dinners and Sunday gatherings.

Ingredients:

2 lb. Brisket or rump, beef, sliced thin
2 tbsp Mustard
1 – 2 Gherkin (sour pickles) or 1 dill pickle
1 Onion
2 Slices of bacon (about 40 grams Speck)
1/2 tbsp Butter (or Butterschmalz)
1/2 tbsp Oil (or Butterschmalz)
1 Carrot
1-2 Stalks celery
1/2 cups Dry red wine
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley for garnish

Slice the beef about 1/4 inch thick across the large surface. This can be done with a slicing machine or by the butcher, or by hand with a very sharp knife. This works best when the meat is partially frozen. Lay beef out flat.

Cut pickle lengthwise into strips, dice onion and bacon very fine.

Spread each slice with mustard, fill one end with 1 – 2 tablespoons of onion, 2 slices of pickle and some diced bacon.

Roll up from the filled end and tie with string (tie like you are wrapping a present or use a modified blanket stich), or use turkey lacers (in Germany they are called “Rouladennadel”) to keep them closed.

Melt the butter and oil in a saucepan or Dutch oven and brown the outside of the roulade in it.

Meanwhile, dice the carrot and celery.

Remove the roulades to a plate, add the “Suppengrün” or mirepoix and sauté for a few minutes, until soft. Place the beef rolls back on top of the vegetables, add a half cup of red wine and a little water, to make about 1/2 inch of liquid in the pan.

Add the bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of salt (depends on how salty the bacon is) and some grinds of pepper, cover and braise over low heat for two hours, or until beef is tender.

Remove beef roulades and keep warm. Puree sauce and thicken (optional) with a little cream, sour cream or “Wondra” (like Sossenbinder”) flour. Season to taste with more salt and pepper as needed. Place roulades back in sauce until serving time.

Serve with boiled potatoes (“Dampfkartoffeln” or parsley potatoes) or “Spaetzle” noodles and red cabbage.

~Enjoy!

Recipe from http://germanfood.about.com/od/meatbasedrecipesandmenu/r/Beef-Roulade.htm
Image © Cazals, Jean

Cook N Bake German Series: Cream of Asparagus Soup

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake German Series Cream of Asparagus Soup

New week, new blog, new series. After indulging in the exotic, spicy Moroccan dishes we decided to go back to the inland, so this week we travel all the way back to center Europe. Ladies and Gentlemen, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren, may I introduce you to a brand new Cook N Bake German Series.

German cuisine is very well known because of its kartoffeln and würste, potatoes and sausage dishes, however these dishes vary from region to region, which is the reason why we can find about 1500 different varieties of sausages throughout the country! Meat is the most consumed food in Germany, especially pork, followed by beef and poultry. Fish is mainly trouts, pike and carp. Vegetables are also extremely popular in Germany, especially in stews. Among the desserts we find German doughnuts, krapfen, Black Forest cake, pretzels and different kind of pudding.

To start off, we selected a dish from the northern region of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen): the Cream of Asparagus Soup. As simple as it sounds, this dish is indeed one of the most appreciated delicacies in Lower Saxony, where vegetables like potatoes, kale and spargel, asparagus, are extremely popular. From April through June asparagus is in season and some restaurants dedicate their whole menu to asparagus dishes.
This perennial plant was introduced in the 16th century and since then it spread throughout the country. Considered a luxury food in the 18th century, eventually it became one of the most popular vegetables that’s been inspiring chef’s creativity.

White asparagus is the one we are going to use for this week’s recipe. In its simplicity, Cream of Asparagus Soup is a very elegant dish if served in a small bowl or – why not – clear cup. Just remember to peel the white asparagus since they do have an outer layer that we do not want to include. Also, a couple of tips are: use just a minimal amount of water, and add a little sugar to reduce the bitterness of the asparagus.

Start your dinner with a classic German, low calorie dish!

Ingredients ( served 6):

1/2 c. chopped onion (1 small)
2 T. butter
1 1/2 -2 lb. white asparagus, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces, heads reserved
6 c. broth, either chicken or vegetable
1/2 c. half and half cream
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Dry white wine, to taste
Parsley for garnish

Make sure you peel white asparagus before you chop it into small pieces. Here is a method for prepping white asparagus.

Sauté the onion in the butter until soft in the bottom of a 4 quart saucepan. Add the pieces of asparagus (minus the heads) and steam for 5 minutes. Add the broth and boil gently for about 30 minutes, or until the asparagus is very soft.

Purée the soup in batches in the blender (place a towel over the lid and hold down the lid so the hot soup does not splatter) or with a hand blender and return to pan.

Bring to a simmer and add the reserved asparagus heads. Cook at least 5 minutes, or until they are fork-tender. Turn down the heat and add the cream. Do not boil further.

Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. You may also want to add a few spoonfuls of white wine, if you think the soup needs acidity. Garnish with parsley.

~Enjoy!
Recipe from http://germanfood.abou.com
Image copyright of Caste, Alain

Cook N Bake Moroccan Series: Tajine of Lamb with Olives and Argan Oil

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake Moroccan Series Tajine of Lamb with Olives and Argan Oil

If you have ever been in a true Moroccan restaurant you must have had noticed that lots of dishes are called tajine. This week, may I introduce you to a great, healthy and tasty dish called Tajine of Lamb and Olives with Argan oil.
Tajine (or tagine) is in fact one of the most popular -if not the most popular!- North African dish that takes its name from the earthenware, made of painted or glazed clay, pot used to cook it. This earthenware is made of a flat base and a cone-shaped top lid that stays on the base during the cooking process, to be removed only before serving.
When you make a tajine you have to braise, slow cook the food at low temperatures and for a few hours. Lamb and chicken are the most common ingredients found in tajine dishes, together with apples, apricots, raisins, olives, prunes, nuts and of course spices such as paprika, cumin, pepper, turmeric, saffron, etc.
Argan oil, which is the third main ingredient in our dish, is made from the kernels of the argan tree and is very popular in Moroccan cuisine because of its nutritive properties. It seems in fact that argan oil contributes to prevent cardiovascular diseases, obesity and some kinds of cancer. Moreover, studies show that cholesterol can be reduced with the intake of argan oil.
If you want to impress your friends with a simple, exotic, succulent dish, then tajine is the perfect choice for you!

Ingredients:
2 lbs. (about 1 kg) lamb, cut into 2″ to 3″ pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped medium
1 tablespoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1/3 cup argan oil
small hanful of cilantro sprigs, tied together
1/2 cup green olives with pits
1 cup water

Layer the sliced onions on the bottom of a tajine. In a bowl, mix the meat with the chopped onion and spices, and add the mixture to the tagine along with the water, argan oil and olives. Place the cilantro bouquet on top of the meat.

Cover the tajine, and place it on a diffuser over medium-low heat. It will take some time for the tajine to reach a simmer, but once it does, leave it undisturbed for about three hours, using the lowest heat necessary to maintain the simmer.

There’s no need to open the tajine unless you smell something burning. In that case, the heat was likely too high and a little water will need to be added to prevent scorching.

After the tajine has cooked for three hours, check on the meat. It should be very tender and easy to break apart with your fingers. If necessary, cook longer. When the meat is tender, reduce any excess liquid, and serve.

It’s Moroccan tradition to serve the dish directly from the tajine in which it was cooked. It’s best scooped up with crusty bread, with each person eating from his own side of the dish.

Recipe courtesy of http://moroccanfood.about.com

Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series: Sesame Seared Tuna (with wasabi dressing)

Rometti Limoncello - Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series - Sesame SearedTuna

Last week we started the new, Hawaiian Series by illustrating a very easy snack. The dish for this week is a little more layered and sophisticated, but still something that you can pull off easily for a last minute dinner: Sesame Seared Tuna (with wasabi dressing). The inspiration came from Pacific’O, a local restaurant in Lahaina, Maui, where they offer an amazing menu with only ingredients grown at the local O’o Farm. Among the simplest yet more interesting dishes is the Sesame Seared Fresh Fish (Pacific’O Original) with island salad greens, wasabi sesame dressing and rice.

You can pick your favorite fish, as long as it is fresh, but in order to stick to the Hawaiian theme, we recommend using tuna, which is the most important fish in the Hawaiian cuisine. Tuna has become so popular since in ancient times it was salted, dried and brought on long journeys due to its long conservation. A sesame seed crust gives that fully, savory little crunch that contrast so well with the softness of the fish. Sesame is also a great source for Omega 6 acids and proteins.

Although Sesame Seared Tuna is a healthy, tasty dish as it is, it’s the wasabi sesame dressing that enhances and enriches the flavor of the dish. Together with sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, wasabi is the ingredient that strikes one’s palate because of its mustardy, peppery taste which complements the delicacy of tuna and sesame.

Sesame Seared Tuna can be served with greens and rice, and it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. This makes it the perfect dish all year long: it can be a quick, savory lunch, or a simple, sophisticated dinner accompanied by a glass of wine.

Ingredients:

For the fish:
1/4 cup Black sesame seeds
1/2 cup White sesame seeds
4 (about 6 oz) Ahi tuna steaks, about 1″ thick
Fresh ground pepper
Salt
2 tbsp canola oil

For the wasabi dressing (served 4):
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp wasabi paste
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Combine the black sesame seeds and the white sesame seeds in a shallow dish. Stir them until they are completely mixed.
Season the tuna with salt and pepper and coat it with sesame seeds by placing it in the shallow dish first on one side and on then on the other.
In the meantime mix the soy sauce and vinegar in a bowl. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add sesame oil and wasab. Wisk it until homogeneous.
Warm up a non stick pan until smoking. Arrange the tuna in the pan and cook both sides until the sesame seeds start turning gold, but do not overcook it (about 1 minute each side). Repeat for all the other 3 tuna steaks.

Serve the tuna on top of a green salad and pour the wasabi dressing on top of both. If served with a side of steamed rice it will make a complete meal.

~Enjoy!

Cook N Bake Spanish Series: Hornazo

Cook N Bake Spanish Series Hornazo

This Thursday we explore the Castilla y Leon region of Spain, better known as The Land of Roast, where modern cuisine and tradition merge into a blend of unique flavors and aromas.
A great variety of  food conferences and festivals take place in Castilla y Leon, where cooking is a true passion to be explored. Pork is the local meat for excellence, as a matter of fact our dish of the week is filled with pork loin. Today we are going to cook Hornazo.

Hornazo is similar to a meat pie. It’s made with bread dough and filled with tender bites of pork loin, hard- boiled egg and chorizo, a kind of pork sausage. The dish seems to be born in Salamanca, and typically it is an Easter specialty dish (it is usually eaten at the end of Lent as the egg is seen as the symbol of the Resurrection of Christ), however nowadays it can be found and savored throughout Castilla y Leon. The tradition says that in the 1700s during Lent the prostitutes could not stay and live in Salamanca where they would have distracted the men during such an important, religious time of the year, and they were allowed to return only after Easter Sunday. Their return was celebrated by young students with this picnic-style dish on the traditional Lunes de Aguas (Monday of the Waters).
Hornazo can vary depending on the area, some people add ham, others use wheat flour, beaten eggs, or add more oil. Whether it is hot or cold, Hornazo tastes always delicious.
If you are planning on traveling around Europe in the near future and make a stop in the Castilla y Leon region, be prepared to eat lots of lomo, chorizo, salchicho, morcillo and costillo! If you don’t like pork, or ham, my dear friend, you will have to find a way to survive since in Salamanca and surrounding areas it’s almost impossible to find a chicken sandwich!

Ingredients:

1 Kg (35 oz) Flour
20 g (0.7 oz) Yeast
150 g (5.30 oz) Chorizo or spiced sausage
100 g (3.5 oz) Serrano ham
100g (3.5 oz) Pork loin
2 Eggs
Water
Butter
Salt

Preheat the oven at 265 F.
Prepare the dough. Mix the yeast with 1/2 cup warm water and 1 cup of flour. Once the dough looks firm, turn it into a bun shape and let it rest on a wooden board or in a bowl covered with a wet towel until it doubles in size.
In the meantime boil one egg and remove the skin of the chorizo and Serrano ham. Slice them and place them in a skillet to fry for a short time. Slice the pork as well.
Place half of the dough on a tray and spread the meat on top of it, keeping the pork on top. Add the egg peeled and cut into slices. Cover everything with the remaining half of the dough.
Beat the other egg and spread it over the surface of the dough. Bake for about 30 min until golden brown. Let it cool before serving.

~ENJOY!

Image from eladerezo.hola.com