If you know Beef Wellington, you are probably thinking how tedious and difficult to make it, right? I tell you that not all Wellington are created equal, at least my version. The traditional version is the Beef Wellington which involves wrapping a chunk of seared beef in parma ham, with a layer of mushroom paste and final wrap of puff pastry. Just thinking of those layers made me want to have it now. I would agree that it takes a little bit more effort to prepare it as compared to regular dish. I believe this is why it’s considered as a special dish when you order it a the restaurant, and not all restaurant offer it. Most of the time restaurant will have it under dinner menu, and it could get quite pricey. But worry no more because you can make it in the comfort of your own home, and that I will share in a separate post. For now, I am going to share something more simple and easy to make, a Meatballs Wellington.
Whether you are planning for especial occasion, Valentine’s Day perhaps? But then again, you don’t need an especial occasion to make this meatballs Wellington, it is so easy that you can make it part of your regular meal.
Make Ahead makes life easier
The beauty of this Meatballs Wellington is that it can be made in bulk and ahead of time. This is great for freezing, and you don’t even need to thaw it when you are ready bake it. Just take it out of the freezer pop it in a preheated 425F oven then sit and relax. This is a very convenient and fancy way to impress your family and friends, not to mention it taste good. Just pair it with a good homemade Rosemary Dinner Rolls and a side of Mexican Salad and you have a complete meal. There’s no need to rush and be stress of the idea of planning a meal ever again. Just make this Wellington ahead Of time and keep it in the freezer. Instant meal when you need it. Here is a breakdown of how you can split the preparation.
Make the Meatballs: I have a recipe for Homemade Meatballs that I used to make this Meatballs Wellington. You can make the meatballs few days ahead, pre-bake it about 20 minutes 350F then freeze it for later use. The good thing about this meatballs is that you can use it in several ways, like for pasta, for salad and even for making Shashuka. So if you get this out-of-the-way already, making Meatballs Wellington is already half done.
Make the Mushroom Paste: Traditional Wellington uses mushroom paste, but you can skip it if you don’t want to make it. But if you want to include it, you can make it ahead of time as well, maybe 1-2 days before and keep it refrigerated until ready to use.
Assembly: Assemble the Meatballs Wellington, layer it and wrap it, then freeze it. You can have this three main parts done separately to save time and lessen the stress of preparing everything in one day. It’s totally doable in one day if that is your preference, just factor out the time needed to make the meatballs and mushroom paste which is the bulk of the work, and making the puff pastry if you are using homemade. I personally like to use store-bought for this because it’s already rolled out and ready to use makes life easier.
I always like the idea of single serve meal or dessert. Portion control, no left over and I feel that I appreciate every single bite of it. Since its single serve, bake only the number of pieces that you need, probably 1 or 3 more extra on the side for second takers. Single serve dish also gave me opportunity to make variations in the dishes that I serve without having to make people feel overwhelmed with the foods in front of them. For me, a little variations of many things is better than 1 or 2 huge serving of few dishes.
What kind of puff pastry to buy?
There’s no shame in using a readily available puff pastry, you got to do what you got to do, so go grab them. There are 2 types that I normally saw in the grocery.
- There’s one that are cut into 2 thick square. This type of puff pastry will require you to roll and flatten it into about 1/8 inch thickness. It’s not difficult to do that, but that still adds time when you are in a hurry. Also, you have to target of at least having an even surface. I box contains 2 cut puff pastry.
- Then there’s my favorite type, the flat puff. They normally comes in 2 pieces per box, and all you have to do is thaw it a little bit in the fridge , unroll and cut them to size and shape you like. The thickness is even, so it’s you are assured that they will bake at the same time. The little time you save will make a huge difference when your tight on schedule. That will give you some time to clean up and relax before the party starts.
So those are you’re 2 options, if you are not considering on making your own puff pastry. You can choose which one is available in your grocery. But definitely go for the 2nd one if they have it.
The key to making a Wellington less stressful is planning ahead. Whether you are making the traditional Beef Wellington, Chicken Wellington or the simplified Salmon Wellington to this Meatballs Wellington, planning ahead takes out the stress in preparing it. Depending on what variation you are making, plan how you want to tackle it. For example, I you like to use mushroom paste you can make it a day before, so the following day all you need to do is to assemble the entire thing. Then you can wrap each piece individually then freeze it for use later. On the day that you want to serve it, bake it at least 1 hour before the meal to give it enough to time to cook and rest before serving. Let me show you how I made it. Let’s get started!
Mushroom Paste Ingredients:
- 3 cups (250g) sliced fresh mushrooms (mushroom like cremini, button, chesnut, etc. EXCEPT canned mushroom)
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
Instructions to make mushroom paste:
- Add mushrooms to a food processor and process until completely smooth. The consistency is similar to wet hummus. If you do not have food processor, manually chopped it into small pieces, it wouldn’t be as fine and smooth but it still works. So don’t worry about it.
- In a pan over medium heat, add olive oil or butter, mushroom paste, salt, and pepper. Spread the mixture over the surface and cook on a medium-low heat while stirring from time to time until the moisture in the paste has reduced and the mixture has the consistency of a spreadable pâté, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- 4 Meatballs or more (Homemade or Store-Bought)
- 1 Puff Pastry (Homemade or Store-bought)
- 2 cups Pasta Sauce
- 4 pieces Ham (optional)
- 4 slices of cheese
- Make the meatballs. I used my homemade meatballs recipe so that I can adjust the size of the meatballs. Pre-bake for about 20 minutes at 350F until just brown. Set aside.
- Gently roll out puff pastry until it is 1/4-inch thin. If you are using store-bought, use a rolling-pin to slightly stretch to another 1-inch more on all sides. If you are making Homemade Puff Pastry, roll it out to 1/4-inch thick with 10 x 10-inch size. Cut puff pastry into 4 squares.
- Lay out 1 piece of cheese in each piece of cut puff pastry, you can also use shredded cheese of your choice.
- Lay out 1 piece of ham on top of cheese (if using any) in each piece of cut puff pastry.
- Alternatively, you can also skip the wrapping of ham/bacon if you don’t have it and go straight to step 5. Spread mushroom filling in the center of the cut puff pastry, center the meatballs then proceed in wrapping the meatballs with puff pastry. The layer of the ham is supposed to protect the puff pastry from getting soggy especially if you are using mushroom paste.
- Spread mushroom paste over the ham/bacon (if using any). I did not use one in mine, but I used it when I made Chicken Wellington.
- Take each end of the puff pastry and bring it together, like a pyramid. Alternately crossing to cover the top, just like in the photo.
- For Freezing: Use plastic wrap to tightly seal and cover each Meatballs Wellington then store in ziplock bag. Store in the freezer until ready to bake (no need to thaw).
- For immediate use: Chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes before baking, then brush with egg wash and score as desired. The puff pastry need to be chilled so that it puff-up better when it bakes.
- Make the Egg Wash: In a bowl, mix together egg yolk and milk (or water).
- Place a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Remove Meatballs Wellington from freezer (if using frozen), remove the plastic wrap, and lay the Wellington seam-side down on the baking sheet. Smooth surface facing up.
- Baste the top of the puff pastry with egg wash. Score the top to create design, optional but it does gave a nice look on the finish product. You can score it if they are not frozen, otherwise just baste the top with egg wash. I use a small knife and run the knife in the middle, then I score the sides with an angled lines. Scoring means you make a mark in the dough, but not too deep to actually cut the dough.
- Frozen Wellington: 425F, for 40 -45 minutes or until the puff pastry has puff and browned. Since the meatballs has already been pre-bake, all you want here is to brown and bake the puff pastry inside and out. Avoid using too thick layer of puff pastry as the inside could get slightly raw while the outside is already browned.
- For non-frozen Wellington: 425F, 30-35 minutes, or until the puff pastry has puff and browned. Since the meatballs has already been pre-bake, all you want here is to brown and bake the puff pastry. Avoid using too thick layer of puff pastry as the inside could get slightly raw while the outside is already browned.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
- To Serve: Pour 1/4 cup Pasta Sauce in each plate and transfer the Wellington in the center. Garnish with fresh herbs as desired or serve with a sides of roasted veggies and potatoes.
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