Thinking like Gordon

October 24, 2011

Main Dishes


I have been kicking around a number of ideas for the last few weeks and could not settle on just one to add as a blog entry.  Did I want to post savory or sweet, dinner or breakfast, ultra simple or complex, Beef or Pork, Paper or plastic…oh wait not that last one. In all this thinking I have had little time to come over here and play since I am back to a full schedule at work so I offer my apologies for slacking off a bit on blog entries.

I have been spending some of my “free time” (HA!) with Gordon Ramsey, (THAT foul-mouthed arrogant Brit!?! Yup) I know you are thinking I have lost my mind aren’t you?   Well yes and no, when I discuss Gordon Ramsey I feel like I need to separate his US reality TV show personality from his show I follow on BBCA “The F Word.”  I am slightly obsessed with “The F Word” in that it is a quick paced, bare bones, get in get out format.  He assumes you have the basics of cooking then runs with the directions.  I think I enjoy it so much because it is not “dumbed down” like a number of cooking shows do in today’s format.  Each season he has a food related project of growing part of the end of season presentation in his backyard, pigs one year, sheep the next, turkeys for Christmas.  The cool thing about his doing this in his backyard is that he has his 4 children deeply involved in the process so that he can teach them where their food actually comes from before it hits their dinner plate.

One episode on Beef Wellington has keep coming up in my mind over the last couple weeks and while I have never had Beef Wellington I wondered how I could change it to make it a tad more accessible to my cooking acolytes, specifically where you are in your cooking experience. So I decided to toss the beef tenderloin and substitute a pork tenderloin, a less costly cut of meat so that if it did not turn out exactly as expected you have not lost a $20 a pound piece of beef.  There have been two incarnations of this dish, chicken breast and pork tenderloin.  The pork tenderloin lends itself much better to this dish in that the meat does not dry out as quickly and remains tender where as the chicken unless you hit the mark exactly head on it will be dry and sandy.

The other thing I determined was that there is no need to purchase high dollar prosciutto.  The example I whipped up with the chicken I used Prosciutto de Parma, the Rolls Royce of Prosciutto.  Well that buttery, soft as silk mouth feel you get with the de Parma is totally lost when baked…what a disappointment!  So just use the pre-cut prepackaged Prosciutto, the flavor will be the same

I want to give a shout out to H.N. and K.F.C. for being my cooking guinea pigs for this dish. I am very fortunate to have as many people who are willing put their taste buds on the line to give me feed back as I do.  I guess you could say I am not in want of testers for my wild hair concoctions, you all are greatly appreciated!

This dish does take a bit of pre-planning as the prosciutto rolled tenderloin will need about 30 mints to chill in the fridge before wrapping in the puff pastry

Pork Wellington~

1 pork tenderloin (silver skin trimmed off and split into 2 pieces)

20 Baby Bella Mushrooms (stems removed)

1 Shallot (finely diced)

1 Pkg Puff  Pastry (chilled not cold)

1 Tb Garlic Paste

1/2 of a 3/4oz pkg Tarragon

1Ts Black Pepper

1 Ts Kosher Salt

6-8 slices Pancetta

1 egg

Cling wrap

OK first thing you will want to do is remove what is called the “Silver skin” from the tenderloin, this silver skin will shrink and make your tenderloin tough and hard to chew.

OK the Silver skin is the whitish parts on the tenderloin shown above

Insert the tip of your knife in under the sliver skin and with the blade angled up so that the edge of your knife is cutting against the silver skin and not into the meat.  As you cut the meat will for the most part easily separate from the sliver skin.

Use a sharp pointed knife to allow you to get between the meat ans sliver skin

When you have removed all the silver skin your tenderloin should look like this…

Now you can see small bits of white but that is what little fat there is on the tenderloin you can leave it, it will not hurt anything as it will cook away.

Set the tenderloin aside and let’s put together the mushroom “paste”

All right remove all the stems from the mushrooms, make sure they have no dirt on them and toss them in a food processor with the salt, pepper, half of the tarragon (leaves removed from the stems, toss stems) and the garlic paste.  Give it a whirl until it is finely chopped but not smooth you will want small bits of mushrooms.

I love the green and browns!

You can still see bits of mushrooms and tarragon don’t over process

The mushrooms will look wet but should not look like toothpaste as it were, stir in the finely diced shallots.  Set mushrooms mix aside and let’s go on to the wrapping stage.

Either on your counter or  cutting board, wipe down with a moist sponge/cloth then lay out a piece of cling wrap patting it down so that it sticks to the cutting board/counter. Lay out the prosciutto on your cling wrap like below, leaving a few inches from the long edge and about 3-4″ from the sides,you will want to lay the prosciutto to be as wide as your piece of tenderloin slightly overlapping the pieces so you have what looks like a mat of prosciutto…

Now using a spatula spread a thin layer of mushroom mixture onto the prosciutto all the way to the edges.  Lay one of your pieces of tenderloin on the prosciutto then add a few more of the tarragon leaves like below.

OK now for the part that takes a bit of dexterity…starting with the edge where the tenderloin is, take the cling wrap and pull it up lifting is slightly off the counter or cutting board using it to gently roll the tenderloin, prosciutto and mushroom mix up like a jelly roll. You will find after the first flip that things will get a bit slippery so take your time here.  As you roll this thing up you will keep the cling wrap pulled slightly away from the meat so yo can flip it over and over to the end of the prosciutto, when you get to the end lay your cling wrap over the whole roll with your hands pull slightly back toward you to tighten up the roll like so…

When you have the roll tightened keep rolling  the cling wrap around the roll and tightly twist the ends so it looks like a tootie roll and tuck under then chill in the fridge for about 30 minutesYour rolled tenderloin should look like this when you are finished

When you put your tenderloin roll in the fridge remove the package of puff pastry and allow to sit on the counter to warm up.

To assemble…

Unfold the puff pastry and lay on your cutting board.  Make an egg wash with the egg and a few tablespoons of water beat into the egg.

Set up your puff pastry station so that you have everything at hand

Cut off the ends of the cling wrap that you have tucked under the tenderloin roll to make cling wrap removal easier, then unroll the cling wrap from the tenderloin and place the meat on the middle third of puff pastry like so…

You will need a pastry brush or you can use your fingers to moisten the edges of the pastry when it is time. Bring over one third and moisten with the egg wash then bring over the second side and press to seal.

Don’t press to hard or you will push your tenderloin out of shape

To seal the ends tuck the upper edge down like wrapping a present.  I did a dry run first to be sure I did not need to remove any excess pastry crust, if you do need to just cut it off with a sharp knife. Give the tucked in end a bit of egg wash and bring up the lower edge and seal to the upper tucked edge.  Pinch the pointed edges  like so…

Down first…

Then up and pinch to seal

When you do the second end tuck the upper side down firmly as well as the lower one to get a good firm shape. Now  transfer to a cookie sheet that has a piece of parchment paper on it to prevent sticking. You can put it on seam side up or down.  I did mine seam side up but it does not matter.  Once on the cookie sheet brush all over with the egg wash then sprinkle on some Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Cut a slit into the pastry dough to allow for a bit of steam to escape.

OH don’t do like I did and use a wire rack…when the pastry puffs it will puff into the grid making it hard to remove after it is finished cooking

Decorate if you would like with any left over pastry using the egg wash to attach

Bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes, the crust will be nicely browned and smell fantastic.

For a closer look click the photo

Now go play with your food.

WikiJan

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