Try this easy Beef Wellington recipe

Beef Wellington's known to be a fancy dish, often ordered in expensive restaurants and prepared by well-trained chefs. However, it doesn't have to be this way. And, like with most things in life, you don't have to follow some rigid set of rules to make it. Ordinarily, Beef Wellington comprises of beef roast, which is wrapped with puff pastry, separated by layers of mushroom puree and prosciutto -- among other ingredients. I like to get creative when I cook, and my husband and I have a preference for Latin-inspired flavors. That's why I created this spin on the classic Beef Wellington recipe. I also used ingredients that are affordable and easy to access -- making this recipe an easy and surprisingly fast one to prepare. This dish could get sloppy, but flavor wins over presentation any day. 

What you need:
Beef (cut is optional)
Onion (chopped)
Jalapeno (fresh, halved/deseeded) 
Bell pepper (diced) 
Powdered allspice
Powdered garlic
Powdered cumin
Mushrooms (optional, my friends)
Cilantro (optional)
Butter
Beef broth (Vegetable or chicken broth works too)
Beef gravy powder (Nobody has time to make it from scratch)
Veggies (mixed or whatever you prefer)
Filo dough sheets 

First thing's first: I don't measure ingredients. I eyeball them. For this recipe, I chose three petite sirloin strip steaks -- which are rather tough, cheap cuts of beef. I threw the steaks, whole, in my French oven (click here if you want one of your own), and added chopped onion, diced bell pepper, a halved jalapeno (without the seeds) and the powdered seasonings. I covered the French oven and put it on medium-low heat for approximately 30 minutes. Please note that powdered allspice is very potent, so a tiny bit goes a long way. I used approximately 1/2 of a Tsp. of allspice for this recipe. The point is to add a tiny kick of flavor without overpowering it with the allspice. You could also eliminate this ingredient altogether if you're not confident with using it.

Next, I added a can of chicken broth (I was out of beef). I then mixed approximately eight oz. of water and three Tbsp. of powdered beef gravy mix. This was stirred into the cooking meat and broth mixture. You may need more or less gravy. The point is to thicken it slightly, but not too much. While the meat was cooking I chopped it up in big chunks directly in the pan. Then, I added a handful of fresh cilantro for added flavor. Add a handful or two of whatever veggie you like (finely chopped). I chose corn. I covered the pan again, and let the meat and sauce mixture simmer for another hour.

(Make sure you stir the mixture frequently to avoid scorching or sticking. If it's too high, turn the heat down a little.)

Smear the entire inside surface of a casserole pan with butter. I only use real butter, but it doesn't matter if you do or not. Margarine is fine, or even olive/vegetable oil. Line the buttered dish with filo pastry sheets. My sheets were in pitiful condition, having cracked and broke after being frozen and thawed. Hopefully yours are in better shape. In order to make this work, I had to kind of turn the filo into a pie crust. Oh well. (Make sure you save enough for the top, guys) The butter step is important because it prevents the bottom of the filo dough from getting soggy. It allows it to crisp and brown while it cooks, surrounding the filling inside of it. (Just make sure you bake it long enough)

Finely dice the mushrooms (if you're even using them). You can also puree them. I chose to roughly chop them until they were fine enough for my own liking. I sprinkled the chopped mushroom mixture over the surface of the inside of the pie crust. I did not add a layer of prosciutto because (1) I don't like the stuff, and (2) I didn't have any. 

Use a slotted spoon or spatula to dig out the meat and veggies from the sauce, trying to strain as much liquid from it as possible. Fill the casserole pie crust with as much as this mixture as you can, continually straining each spatula or spoonful until you're done. If there is any meat or veg left in the sauce, this doesn't matter.

Cover the top of the casserole dish with layers of filo dough. Again, mine was in pretty bad shape after it thawed, but I did my best.

Melt some butter in a dish -- enough to cover the top layer of dough. Use a brush or spoon to spread this melted butter over the entire top of the pie crust you just layered.

I baked this so-called Beef Wellington at 400 degrees with a loose dome of aluminum foil over it, and left it in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. I then removed the foil dome and "toasted" the top for a couple of minutes, letting it turn a golden brown hue. Cooking time may vary for you, though.

While this isn't the classic Beef Wellington recipe, I feel I did pretty well at putting my own twist on it -- and it tasted delicious! I'm a huge fan of the crispy texture of filo pastry, so I'm the kind of person who will try to figure out how to "Wellington" any meat, for any occasion. Unfortunately, I need to lay off the carbs a little!


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