Single-Serving Beef “Wellingtons” Provençal

Single-Serving Beef “Wellingtons” Provençal

Serves 4

4 six-ounce beef fillets, about 1-1/2 inches thick

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil

1 sheet all-butter frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator (or other puff pastry)

All-purpose flour

1 medium-sized eggplant

3-4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed

4 ounces soft goat cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon (or more) heavy cream

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Olive oil

1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature (optional if you’re not using all-butter puff pastry)

  1.  Lightly flour the countertop.  Unwrap the thawed sheet of puff pastry and place it on the floured surface.  Lightly flour the top of the pastry.  Roll it into a 14-inch square.  Then cut the large square in quarters to make four seven-inch squares.  Stack these on a plate and put them in the refrigerator until you need them.
  2. With a vegetable peeler, peel off half of the eggplant’s skin in strips alternating with leaving the peel on.  Cut the peeled eggplant in ½-inch slices.  Rub a little salt into both sides of each slice, and let them sit in a colander for 45 minutes to drain some of the liquid.  Wipe the slices with dry paper towels and cut the slices into ½-inch cubes.
  3. Put an oven rack at the lowest level and one in the middle of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. Put the cubed eggplant on a sheet pan near one end.  Drizzle with olive oil and some black pepper, then toss the cubes to coat them (they should already have enough salt).  At the other end of the sheet, drizzle the shiitake caps with olive oil, then salt and pepper them.  Spread out the eggplant and the mushrooms into a single layer on opposite ends of the sheet.  Bake for approximately a half hour, turning everything over after 15 minutes.  The mushrooms should be nicely browned.  Remove them, turn over the eggplant again, and continue roasting it for another 10-15 minutes until the cubes are lightly browned.  Remove the eggplant to a plate to cool, and slice the mushroom caps into ¼-inch slices.
  5. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil on high heat in a skillet large enough to hold all four fillets.  While the oil is heating, dry the fillets with paper towels and sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper.  Sear them in the hot pan for 2 minutes on each side, then put them on a plate to cool to room temperature.
  6. While the beef is cooling, combine the goat cheese, thyme, parsley, and a tablespoon of heavy cream in a small bowl and mix well.  Add a little salt and pepper.  The mixture should be spreadable – if not, mix in a little more cream.
  7. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to assemble, put a sheet pan upside-down on the bottom rack of the oven and bring the temperature back up to 425 degrees F.
  8. Place one of the beef fillets on a clean plate.  If you’re using regular puff pastry, brush the beef with some of the cooled melted butter (if you used all-butter puff pastry, you can skip this step).  Completely cover the meat with one-quarter of the cheese mixture, then a quarter of the mushroom slices and up to a quarter of the eggplant cubes (they may not all fit, use as much as you can).  Take a piece of the chilled puff pastry and lightly stretch it.  Brush the edges with some of the beaten egg/cream mixture.  Center it on top of the covered fillet (egg wash side down)and bring the four corners of the puff pastry together under the beef, overlapping them a little so they’ll stick.  Press firmly together, and then firmly crimp the edges of pastry sticking out along the beef and press them into place on the sides of the beef package.  Place the Wellington on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Repeat with the other three Wellingtons.  Brush the tops and sides with the egg wash, make two small slits in the top of each one, and sprinkle the tops with a little salt and pepper.
  9. Put the pan with the Wellingtons right on top of the upside-down baking pan on the bottom rack and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve immediately.

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