Rating: 5 stars
We are slowly working our way through Laura Calder’s French Cooking At Home cookbook and this was our latest recipe we tried. Once again, it was simple and outstanding. We had to try it twice to get it the way we wanted but it will be a fixture in dinners to come no matter the season.
One note is that our first go around we purchased a beef tenderloin and didn’t realize it wasn’t one piece but two. That was a mistake we remedied the next time we cooked this. If you don’t have a single tenderloin, it cooks faster and the beef falls apart when slicing it. Not pretty. So save yourself a drier piece of beef that won’t look like the picture and make sure to start with one great beef tenderloin. Check with the butcher if you aren’t sure you are getting the right thing.
So here goes:
1 1/3 pounds beef tenderloin -single piece
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
Olive oil, for drizzling
2 shallots, minced
1 pound mushrooms, very finely chopped (can be any type, I used crimini)
1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup Madeira
2 tablespoons creme fraiche (Roots usually has it, or you can substitute sour cream)
Handful chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 (1 pound) packages puff pastry or frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 teaspoon water
Season the beef with salt, and pepper. Melt a tablespoon of butter with a drizzle of the olive oil in a saute pan until hot, then sear the beef on all sides. Remove from the pan to a board, and let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
In the same pan as the beef, prepare the mushroom : Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and fry the shallots until translucent. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaf, and cook until very tender. Pour over the Madeira, and bring to a boil, and cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the creme fraiche and cook down to a very thick paste. Season the mixture with salt, and pepper. Stir through the chopped parsley.
Roll out one block of pastry to a rectangle large enough to fit the meat with a roomy border. Place on a baking sheet. Remove the fillet from the refrigerator, and unwrap. Spoon the mushroom mixture into the center of the pastry and set the meat on top. Roll out the second sheet to fit over the whole fillet generously. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and 1 teaspoon water. Brush the margins of the bottom pastry with egg wash, then drape the second sheet over, pressing to seal well. Trim the edge to a 1-inch border. Crimp the edges with your fingers. Refrigerate until ready to bake. (Note: I love that this can be prepared ahead of time).
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Brush the whole surface of the pastry with egg wash and make two slits in the top with a knife to allow steam to escape. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F, and continue to bake 20 minutes, depending on how well you like your meat done. Remove from the oven and let stand about 10 minutes before serving in slices.