I’m pretty sure my New Year’s Resolution wouldn’t approve but, oh well, after my little mid-winter fling with these cold-oil fries, we’re no longer on speaking terms. (It was a strained relationship from the very beginning – that can happen if you make a hasty commitment on New Year’s Eve.)
There’s no going back now.
And nothing says “see ya later low-carb diet” quite like puff pastry.
Anyway, forget New Years – sitting down to this is like Christmas all over again, except this time you get to eat the wrapping paper.
This is not the classic Wellington, made with a tenderloin roast, coated with onion, mushroom and, often, liver pâté. These are mini-Wellingtons with no mushrooms or pâté or a lot of fuss, for that matter. Instead, the simple onion coating is spiked with a little Armagnac, Cognac or brandy for richness. And rich they are!
Buying pre-rolled frozen puff pastry means these are easy to make, yet they look very impressive when they come out of the oven.
Adapted from this recipe by Rachel Khoo
4 one-inch thick venison steaks about 6 ounces (175 grams) each
3 large red onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons Armagnac/Cognac/brandy
4 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry, cold
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 large egg mixed with 2 tablespoons water (eggwash)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat large pan over high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper and, when pan is hot, sear the meat for 30 seconds per side. Remove and cool.
Reduce heat to medium, add butter, onions sugar and a little salt to the same pan. Cook until caramelized and very soft (reduce heat if the onions are browning). And Argmagnac/cognac/brandy and cook a further 10 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates. Place in the fridge or freezer until cold.
Chop onions very finely or blend in food processor until they form a paste.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Puff pastry should be thawed (if bought frozen) but cold. Cut sheets into rectangles slightly larger than the steaks (you want to be able to crimp the edges together once the steak is covered).
Brush steaks with Dijon mustard and place mustard side down in middle of pastry. Brush the top side with mustard.
Place a heaping tablespoon of onion paste on each steak and spread in a thin, even coat. Brush edges of pastry with eggwash (a little water works too) and cover with pastry top. Press down on the edges to seal and crimp with a fork. Trim any excess so there is about a half-inch border of sealed pastry around each steak.
Cut a little cross on each pastry packet to let steam escape and brush with eggwash so they will brown nicely.
Place the pastry packets on the lined tray and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Steaks will be medium rare.
Remove and cover with foil to rest for five minutes. Enjoy!