Cast Iron Cooking Competition: Mary and John’s Mini Beef Wellingtons in Griswold no. 11 French Roll Pan
All photos courtesy the talented Sarah Lamb of S.Lamb Photography, (c) 2015.
At our cast iron cooking competition, good friends Mary and John were assigned main course, and they drew two Griswold no. 11 French Roll pans. I could see from John’s expression when he opened the bag holding the pans that he had never seen one before. Mary, however, stared at the pan with narrowed eyes, and I could literally see the wheels turning in her brain.
John asked whether teams could switch pans or courses. As I was thinking about whether I would bend the rules to permit that, Mary said “no, keep that pan.” Off they went to plan their course and change clothes for the competition.
When they returned, they were wearing matching chef’s coats, and each wore a chef’s scarf. Mary’s said “Mary, Executive Chef.” John’s said “John,” and he told me it should have also said “sous,” since Mary was the expert in the kitchen and he was acting as sous chef.
Truth be told, Mary and John are both expert cooks. Mary knows me very well and she knows exactly what I like to eat. Mary told me that they were going to use the traditional pâté in the dish but she knew I wouldn’t eat it (I do not eat scary proteins, and to me, pâté is a scary protein). Mary played to my taste. These mini beef Wellingtons were delicious; they may have been my taste favorite. Like some of the other contestants, they did less measuring than they did adding what they felt necessary, tasting as they went along.
Mary and John’s Mini Beef Wellingtons in Griswold no. 11 French Roll Pan
Serves 12 (serving size = 2 mini beef Wellingtons per person)
- About 2 pounds hangar steak. Hangar steak is very flavorful, but tends to be tough if over-cooked. Tenderloin would work well and might actually be a better choice if you have never cooked with hangar steak.
- 3 shallots, peeled and chopped (reserve one of the shallots for the red sauce)
- 1 lb. fresh spinach, finely chopped
- ½ lb. mushrooms, cleaned and chopped into small chunks
- Parsley and thyme to taste, chopped.
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- ¼ cup dry red wine, plus more for the red sauce. Mary and John used a Pinot Noir.
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced (reserve one of the cloves for the red sauce)
- 1 package filo, thawed (puff pastry would also work)
- ¼ lb. Gorgonzola cheese
- Butter (to brush onto each mini-Wellington prior to cooking), melted
- Beef broth (for red sauce)
- Season hangar steak with salt and pepper. Place 2 T. olive oil in a large cast iron skillet and heat.
- Sear the hangar steak over high heat in the cast iron pan, about 1 minute on each side. Set the steak aside to rest.
- Sauté the mushrooms, shallots, spinach, red wine, and garlic in the same pan for about 8 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and spinach is fully wilted. (You will want to cook the mixture until the all the liquid is gone).
- When ready to assemble, slice the hangar steak against the grain into about 1 ½ inch pieces.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Lay the filo out on a damp cloth and keep covered. Take about 4 sheets of filo and cut into about 5×5 inch squares (do not separate the filo sheets).
- Place 1 piece of steak on each square of filo sheets. Top with about 2 T. of the mushroom mixture and a piece of gorgonzola. Wrap filo sheets around the steak until mixture is completely enclosed within the filo and any seam is facing down.
- Place each bundle into one of the cups of the French roll pan.
- Brush each bundle with a small amount of melted butter.
- Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Make a basic red wine sauce over medium heat using the reserved shallots, garlic, red wine and beef broth. Taste as you go along and flavor as you wish. Spoon a few tablespoons of the sauce on a plate and top with 2 of the mini wellingtons.