Now its time for the main event. The main course needs to be impressive and this really fits the bill. Take this to the table and carve a piece of tender meat wrapped in crispy pastry and its sure to seduce. The rest is up to you.
The second of our classic dishes is a take on beef wellington. I love the original made with a whole fillet of beef and carved at the table in front of everyone it’s a real showstopper. I have made this with a piece of venison fillet which has a more interesting flavour than the standard beef, and will give you and your partner something to talk about for weeks to come. (Honestly, the Photographer won’t shut up about it now!)
Serve this with the two veg of your choice and the only other thing it needs to go with it is some more wine to help set the mood.
- 10oz venison fillet
- 1 Savoy cabbage
- 30g butter
- 100g button mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ tsp thyme chopped
- 500g puff pastry
- 1 egg beaten
- 6 slices Parma ham
- 1Tbsp vegetable oil
- Sauté the mushrooms in the butter along with the thyme. Season, then whiz in a food processer till it makes a coarse mushroom pate. Leave to cool.
- Heat the oil in a heavy pan until very hot. Season the venison fillet and sear on all sides until browned. Place on a plate to rest.
- Remove 4 large leaves from the cabbage and cut out the stalks. Bring a pan of water to the boil then blanch the leaves for 1 minute. Refresh in cold water. Remove from the water and place on kitchen paper to dry.
- Pull out a length of cling film. On it lay the cabbage leaves. They need to overlap to form a sheet longer than the fillet and wide enough to roll round it. On to the cabbage lay the slices of ham in two rows of 3, making one large sheet of ham.
- Take the mushroom pate and spread it over the ham. Place the fillet on the middle of the sheet of ham.
- Now lift up the edge of the cling film furthest from you and fold the cabbage and ham over the venison. Roll it up in to a sausage and twist the ends. Place in the fridge while you roll the pastry.
- Roll the pastry out into the thickness of a pound coin, making it longer than the cling-filmed parcel and wide enough to wrap round it.
- Un-wrap the parcel and place in the middle of the pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg then roll the pastry over, folding in the sides to form a neat little package.
- If you have any excess pasty you can use it to decorate the top of the wellington. Something romantic and heart shaped should do the trick.
- It can now be chilled until you sit down for your starter. When you are ready, brush the top with egg and bake at 200’c for about 20 minutes then allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- You can cook it to the same level you like you steak, and the best way to do this is to invest in a digital meat probe. It might sound fancy, but they are quite cheap now, and available even from some supermarkets. Cooking temperatures are as follows:
- Rare 52–55 °C
- Medium rare 55–60 °C
- Medium 60–65 °C
- Medium well 65–69 °C
- Well done 71-100 °C
Let the romance continue……