These cute beef en croûtes can be frozen in advance, then cooked when you want to impress a hot date or loved one.
- 10g dried porcini mushrooms
- Knob of butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 100g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
- Large handful fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 x 175g thick-cut beef fillet steaks
- 375g puff pastry
- 2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
- 1 large free-range egg, beaten
- 1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7. Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl, pour over boiling water to just cover and leave to soak while you prepare the shallots and mushrooms.
- 2. Heat the butter and 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the shallots and chestnut mushrooms for 10 minutes until tender. Drain the porcini (reserving the liquid) and finely chop. Add to the frying pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper until you have a thickish paste. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley and cool.
- 3. In another frying pan, heat the remaining oil until really hot, then sear the fillet steaks on either side for just 30 seconds each. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
- 4. Roll out the pastry to 2 x 25cm squares (reserve the pastry trimmings) and place the steaks in the middle. Spread 1 tbsp tomato paste over each steak, then top with the mushroom mixture. Wrap over the pastry, brushing with a little egg to help seal. Use the pastry trimmings to decorate the top of each parcel.
- 5. Brush the parcels with egg. Transfer to a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Transfer to warmed serving plates and serve with a vegetable, such as green beans with red onion and redcurrants.
To freeze: Open-freeze the beef en croûtes at the end of step 4 until solid, then transfer to a container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Cook from frozen, adding an extra 10-15 minutes to the cooking time, until the pastry is golden and cooked.
Don’t overwhelm this dish with a too-heavy, powerful red. The juicy, soft, strawberry flavours of Pinot Noir will work, especially if you pick a ripe New World example, perhaps from Australia or Chile.