The 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.Food baked in pastry, it's hard to go wrong with this one! After exploring the meat section of our local supermarket we decided to go with a regional twist and make a Moose Wellington.
For me, eating game feel better and more ethical. I would love to get it more often, but unfortunately, unless you know someone who hunts, meat such as moose, venison and deer can be really hard to get hold of, and it's often very expensive. Moose hunting season in Sweden is a short period in the fall, and is quite heavily regulated. Fresh moose meat is not very commonly found in supermarkets, so if you want to cook with it you have to take the opportunity when it arrives, and also be ready to splurge a little!
The filling for the Beef Wellington recipe was button mushrooms and Parma ham. We decided to use a mixture of chanterelles and porcinis instead. Chanterelle picking season kind of coincides with moose hunting season, so the two are often served together. Instead of Parma ham, we used a Swedish cold-smoked ham called Tvärnö ham.
We missed the September Daring Bakers challenge which was making puff pastry. Had we done that one, we probably wouldn't have hesitated to make our own pastry dough for the Moose Wellington (or there would have been leftovers in the freezer). But attempting it for the first time seemed a little too adventurous and time-consuming now, so we turned to the ready-made stuff.
The recipe called for the Beef Wellington to be in the oven at 200°C for 20 minutes. That really seemed too inexact for me (what size of beef is that for? how well done will it be?) so we stuck a thermometer into the moose and cooked until it read 73°C. Unfortunately, we had forgotten that it would keep cooking also when it was out of the oven, and a dilemma presented itself: letting the meat rest and see the temperature keep going up, or carving it without letting it rest for the desired 20 minutes? When the thermometer read 80°C, we decided to carve it. This meant that the moose was a little too well done for our liking. It was, however, still delicious. I got a bad migraine the night we made it, but since we had put in all the effort (ok, it wasn't that hard) and money I just had to eat some, even though I normally would have been in bed without a thought of food. The pain kind of took away the enjoyment of eating it though. Fortunately there were leftovers, so both Markus and I were treated to Moose Wellington for lunch the following day. It was really nice also after being heated in the oven (me)/microwave (Markus), and even the crust was still quite crispy and flaky which I hadn't expected. I guess the wrapping-meat-in-crepes part really do prevent the crust from getting soggy!
What didn't work however, was the picture taking part (seriously, every month I hang my head in shame when I see some of the pictures other Daring Bakers and Cooks have taken of their dishes), and a big computer catastrophe (tip of the day: laptop should not hit floor) didn't make things better. So we only have these two really crappy picture of our Moose Wellington. Ouch!
Thanks Simone for a fun challenge! Below you will find our version of the recipe, which has some changes, and is also halved. The original (and the recipes for salmon and vegetables en croute) can be found over at the Daring Kitchen, where you also can see the other Daring Cooks' creations.
Finally: Happy Holidays to all the Daring Cooks around the world! I look forward to see what exciting challenges 2010 will bring us!
400 g moose (elk)
110 g canned chanterelles
110 g canned porcinis
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 sprig of thyme
1 tsp dijon mustard
Ready-made puff pastry (rolled)
3 slices cold-smoked ham (Tvärnö ham)
1 egg yolk
For the herb crepes:
25 g all purpose flour
62 ml milk
1 tbsp mixed herbs (we used a frozen "Italian mix" of flat leaf parsley, oregano and sage)
½ tbsp butter
Pinch of salt
- To make the crepes, whisk the flour, egg and milk with a pinch of salt in until smooth. Pour into a jug and stir in the herbs and some seasoning. Leave to rest.
- Drain the chanterells and porcini well. Heat the oil in a pan, and fry the mushrooms until most of the liquid is gone. Add the thyme leaves and some seasoning and keep cooking for a few minutes. Cool.
- Melt the butter in a frying pan (or small crepe pan) and mix the butter into the batter. Pour in enough batter to make a thin layer on the base of the pan, cook until the top surface sets and then turn over and cook briefly. Remove and repeat with the rest of the batter. This will make a couple of more crepes than you need so choose the thinnest ones for the recipe.
- Sear the meat all over in a little oil in a very hot pan. Brush with the mustard, season and allow to cool.
- Lay a large sheet of cling-film on a kitchen surface and put two crepes down on it, overlapping a little. Lay over the ham. Spread the mushroom mixture over the ham and put the meat in the centre. Roll the cling-film up, taking the crepe with it, to wrap the beef completely into a nice neat log. Chill for 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 200°C. Roll out the pastry, remove the clingfilm and wrap the beef in the pastry like a parcel, with the ends tucked under. Trim to keep it nice and neat. Brush with egg, score with shallow lines across the top and chill for 20 minutes.
- Stick a thermometer into the meat and cook until it reads about 70°C. It will keep cooking while it rests, so if you prefer your meat slightly less done, remove it a bit earlier. We cooked it until 73°C, and it was a bit too well done for our liking. Allow the meat to rest for 20 minutes before carving and enjoying!