Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bang on a Budget


Sometimes I want fine dining, and then sometimes I want to have fine dining without the dollar signs.  I usually save big-ticket items at the grocery store for special occasions.   Not that I'm really on a budget, but I do try to be moderately frugal.  I want to eat like a queen but on my budget.

So I was craving beef wellington the other day.  Beef wellington is an expensive beef tenderloin covered with pate and a duxelle, which is a chopped mushroom and onion sautee, and covered with puff pastry.  I made this once for the whole family for Easter, and the tenderloin alone was $65.  I thought to myself, how can I satisfy my craving without gouging my wallet.  And I came up with this...a Poor Man's Wellington. Of course I had to switch it up a little and put my own spin on it.  So I made a meatloaf wellington (I love meatloaf) stuffed with mashed potatoes and cheese and covered with mushroom gravy.  It was so darn tasty that we ate it twice in one week!  My son was so amazed by this.  He said, "Wow, Mom, it's like a whole meal wrapped up in one, the meat, potatoes, and bread.  It's like a fancy Hot Pocket."  I served this with my Corn Casserole (under the Sides tab) which is like cornbread but a little creamier.

Call the butler.  Dinner is served.

POOR MAN'S WELLINGTON
FOR THE MEATLOAF:
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T minced dried onion
2 eggs
1/4 C ketchup
1/4 C milk
Salt & pepper to taste

FOR THE POTATOES:
2 lbs potatoes, diced
1/2 stick butter
1 T garlic powder
1/2 C cream
Salt & pepper to taste

FOR THE GRAVY:
One 8-ounce package mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 C beef stock
1/4 C flour
1/2 stick butter
1/4 C red wine
2 cloves garlic, minced

FOR THE WELLINGTON:
1 package puffy pastry, thawed (in the freezer section of the grocery store)
1 C shredded cheddar cheese

To make the mashed potatoes, bring a pot of water to boil.  Boil the potatoes until they are tender.  Drain them and add all the remaining ingredients and potatoes in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat to desired consistency.

For the meatloaf, combine all of the meatloaf ingredients together in a bowl and divide into four portions.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  The puff pastry comes two to a package. Roll them out a bit and cut each one in half.  Spread 1/4 of the mashed potatoes down the center of one puff pastry section.  Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese over the potatoes. Shape 1/4 of the meatloaf mixture into a rectangle and lay over the cheese.  Fold the puff pastry up around the meatloaf, making sure to seal all of the edges.  When all four are folded, turn them seam-side down onto a sheet pan.  Bake them for about 25-30 minutes or until the meatloaf is about 160 degrees (use a meat thermometer).  **You can brush melted butter on top of the pastry during the last five minutes or so to brown the pastry.

For the gravy, melt the butter in a small skillet.  Cook the mushrooms over medium high heat until they are browned.  Season with salt and pepper.  Whisk in the flour to combine.  Whisk in the red wine.  Add in the garlic and beef stock.  Whisk continually until thickened and bubbly. Serve over the wellingtons.

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