When it comes to planning holiday meals, the menu is usually centered around one main ingredient: the protein. For many of us, this usually means turkey or ham, but beef can be an unexpected and welcome addition to your holiday table!
In past years, I’ve made a big pot roast for Christmas dinner with a side of Yorkshire puddings and mashed potatoes. While that is one of my favourite dinners EVER, I have a new recipe to try out this year.
The good folks over at Canada Beef gave me permission to share this Deconstructed Beef Wellington recipe with you. How delish does that look?! I might have to try the mushroom sauce with short ribs, which are my favourite cut of beef of all time. Actually, I didn’t even know I had a favourite cut until a few months ago…
Back in September I was invited to attend a Taste and Terroir session at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, located at Niagara College’s beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus. It was freezing outside that day, and rainy too, and the campus was still very pretty. I can only imagine what it looks like on a sunny day, with the trees changing colours in the fall.
At this session we learned about Terroir, which refers to “the environmental conditions in which a food is grown or produced that give food its unique characteristics”.
I had no idea that Terroir affected the production of beef in a similar way to how it affects the production of wine. We are fortunate to have really good beef here in Canada, with our beef being recognize as some of the best beef in the world.
That’s Selena from The Dip Diva holding a cut of beef that I can’t remember… they said something about it looking like a football and that’s what stuck in my head. You can tell from the look on my face that I’m trying to figure out what it is (and failing!).
We tasted a variety of beef cuts (tenderloin, sirloin, strip loin, rib eye and short rib) and judged them based on their appearance, flavour, juiciness and tenderness.
I had never really paid attention to the difference between the cuts before, but after tasting them one after the other, it was obvious that short rib was my favourite. I love the juiciness and buttery mouthfeel of short rib, and it doesn’t take forever to chew it!
Chef Michael Olson and Canada Beef’s Chef Marty Carpenter lead the tasting session, providing a lot of insight (and humour!) throughout the day. While I did pick up a lot of great tips (like the reason slow cooking tough cuts of beef works so well is because it allows the tough connective tissues to break down), there was one tip in particular that I wanted to share with you.
It’s called The Roundup, and it’s an app for iPhone (affiliate link) and Android smart phones that demystifies those cuts of beef for you! This handy up provides “information on beef cuts, recipes, cooking & cuts videos and more to help you enjoy the best in beef! Look for the Canadian Beef symbol when buying beef – raised with pride by Canada’s beef farmers and ranchers.”
If you end up downloading the app, let me know if you like it!
- 1 pkg (397 g) puff-pastry dough, thawed
- 2 ½ lb (1.3 kg) Centre-cut Beef Tenderloin Premium Oven Roast, cut into six 1” – 1.5” thick medallions
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
- Coarsely ground salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp. butter, divided
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- 1 green onion, finely sliced
- 2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
- 2-1/2 oz chicken or duck liver paté, thinly sliced
- 1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water, beaten to make an egg wash
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Roll out the package puff pastry dough on lightly floured board to a thickness of ½-inch. Using a sharp knife or cookie cutter, cut pastry into 3-inch circles.
- Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pierce each pastry piece several times with a fork. Brush with egg wash and bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Rub and season both sides of beef medallions with 1 Tbsp. of the oil, salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. butter with remaining oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat; brown meat on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet.
- In same skillet, melt remaining butter; add shallots and onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until softened for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until there is no liquid from the mushrooms remaining, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste. Set aside to use for Madeira Mushroom Sauce.
- Top each medallion with paté slices and mushroom mixture. Bake in oven for 8 to10 minutes to finish. Serve with Madeira Mushroom Sauce and 1 to 2 Wellies.
- Place skillet used to make mushrooms over medium-high heat; stir in 4 cups beef broth, stirring up brown bits from bottom of pan. Bring to boil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes to reduce to 1-2/3 cups. Stir in ⅔ cup Madeira and continue to boil until liquid is reduced again to 1-2/3 cups about 5 minutes. Stir in a generous splash of whipping cream to finish. If desired, thicken by stirring in a mixture of 1 tsp corn starch with 1 tsp cold water; cook 3 to 4 minutes until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour onto gravy boat to serve.
- Place skillet used to make sauce over medium-high heat; stir in1 Tbsp butter and 1 tsp chopped garlic. Sauté for 1 minute. Add 4 cups baby spinach, stir to cover with butter for 30 seconds. Turn off heat, cover and allow spinach to wilt.
I have not been financially compensated for this post. However, Canada Beef did provide transportation to the Taste and Terroir session, and also provided food and wine through the day. I chose to write this blog post as I use Canadian beef at home, and it is a product that I can stand behind. Of course, my opinions are my own, however information in quotation marks has been used from promotional material. Images marked with Canada Beef are used with permission, courtesy of Canada Beef.