The Perfect Valentine’s Meal, Part 2 – The Main & Dessert

Posted by Nathan Lloyd | 11/02/2013 | Category: Food


As mentioned in part one of my perfect Valentine’s night meal, my household strengths are less culinary and perhaps better equipped for the use of a vacuum cleaner and turning on the washing machine.

I do however make an exception for Valentine’s Day and I’ve put together a dining experience that I hope delivers plenty of flavour, has a bit of the wow factor and doesn’t require hours of preparation.

In part one I detailed how to make the very light, simple and tasty asparagus wrapped in Parma ham for starters.

Now it's onto the main and the dessert.  For my main I have plumped for and my all-time favourite of mine – mini beef Wellingtons, served with dauphinoise potatoes and steamed vegetables.

Beef Wellington can be a dry and heavy so my version strays a little bit from tradition and uses minced beef instead of beef fillet, which I think works particularly well and helps keep the dish drying out:

Valentine’s Day Main Course – Mini Beef Wellingtons

• Preparation Time: Around 35 Minutes
• Cooking Time: Around 25 Minutes
• Serves: 2 Adults

Ingredients

• 500g quality lean beef mince
• 500g puff pastry
• 200g tinned kidney beans (drained)
• 2 large free-range eggs beaten in separate bowls
• 1 handful of grated Cheddar Cheese
• 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 stick celery, trimmed and finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 pinch of cumin
• 1 pinch of chilli powder
• 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
• Salt & Pepper
• Olive Oil
• 2 teaspoons plain flour

Method

Heat a frying pan and add a small dash of olive oil.  Whilst this is warming up, preheat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4).

Add the celery, garlic, carrot and onion to the pan and cook on a medium heat for around 10 minutes, until everything is softened nicely.  Be careful not to scorch the onions by having the frying pan too hot.

Next, add the cumin and chilli powder, cook for a further minute and then transfer everything to a large bowl to cool.

When everything has cooled down, add the beef mince, the tomato puree and the kidney beans, along with a good pinch of salt and pepper.  Give everything a good mix and then take one of the beaten eggs and get stuck in with your hands to bind everything together.

Set that aside and dust a work surface liberally with a good couple of handfuls of flour.  Take a rolling pin and roll out the puff pastry to around 4mm thick and cut into four rectangles, roughly the size of tea towels.

Take the beef mixture and spoon into each piece, leaving about 2cm along the bottom and around a 1cm edge on either side.  Sprinkle the grated cheddar over the meat and then brush the bottom edge of each one with some of the beaten egg and roll into a parcel shape.

Press each one at both ends with your fingers, and then place each of the completed Wellingtons on a baking tray that has been dusted with a little flour.

Brush each one with the remaining beaten egg and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, flipping over at the halfway stage and cook until golden brown.

All done!

The finished Wellingtons are deceptively filling, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide on whether or not you want to serve them with some dauphinoise potatoes and the steamed veg.

You may also want to serve the Wellingtons with a pre-prepared Hollandaise sauce if you feel that they could potentially be a bit dry for your palate?

I would recommend the Co-op Lime Tree Merlot wine to serve with this dish - the fantastic flavours of blackberry and plum really complement the beefy flavours.

Dessert

Right, I think you’ve worked hard enough in the kitchen, so desert is a very simple case of opening a box of the delicious Truly Irresistible Raspberry & White chocolate cheesecakes.

You can also check some more of our fabulous Valentine's offers here.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s evening and pop back soon for more delicious recipes from Central England Co-op.


About The Author: Nathan Lloyd

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