From our kitchens: Sundried tomato pesto and spinach Beef Wellington

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In honour of Lethbridge College’s 60th anniversary, our chefs have again looked to the Culinary program’s past for inspiration and updated an old favourite with a modern twist. Beef Wellington – a decadent combination of beef is slathered in a foie gras or mushroom mixture and baked in a pastry crust – would have been part of the college’ culinary curriculum in the 1960s, when the dish was made popular by Julia Child, who included the recipe in her influential 1961 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Beef Wellington was also a favourite of Presidents Kennedy and Nixon and was featured in the 1968 The White House Cookbook. Chef Stephen Klassen (Culinary Careers 2001) provides a modern update by exchanging the foie gras for sundried tomato pesto, prosciutto and spinach – adding both colour and more complex flavours to this favourite dinner dish.

Ingredients
FOR THE SUNDRIED TOMATO PESTO:
4 cups…………………………………………………………………. fresh basil leaves
1 cup……………………………………………….. rehydrated sundried tomatoes
2 cups……………………………………………………………………………….olive oil
1 tbsp……………………………………………… walnuts or pine nuts (optional)
3 ………………………………………………………………………………. garlic cloves
1 tsp………………………………………………………………………………………..salt
½ cup………………………………………………………..grated parmesan cheese

 

FOR THE BEEF WELLINGTON:
750 g………………………………………………………………………beef tenderloin
2 tbsp…………………………………………………………………………….. canola oil
150 g…………………………………………………………………….sliced prosciutto
2 cups…………………………………………………..cooked and drained spinach
2 cups…………………………………………………………..sundried tomato pesto
3 sheets……………………………………………………… phyllo pastry (covered)
As needed………………………………………………………………salt and pepper
As needed ……………………………………………………………….. melted butter

 

Method

1. Prepare the sundried tomato pesto by washing the basil leaves and draining them well. Place the basil, sundried tomatoes, nuts, garlic and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend to a paste, but not so long that it is smooth. Add the oil and blend some more. The pesto should have a slightly coarse texture. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the cheese and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 400F/200C.

3. In a sauté pan, add the canola oil and let it heat up. Season the beef tenderloin with salt and pepper, and then add the beef to the pan. Sear on all sides until it is nice and brown, and then remove from the pan.

4. Place one sheet of phyllo paper on a cutting board and brush it with melted butter. Repeat until all layers of phyllo are used.

5. Wrap the beef tenderloin with prosciutto and place it on the buttered phyllo sheets.

6. Top with the sundried tomato pesto, and then top with the spinach.

7. Wrap the beef with the phyllo, making sure everything is covered and ends are tucked in. Brush the top with melted butter.

8. Place on a parchment-lined tray and place the tray in the oven until it is golden brown.

9. Cook to desired doneness. For medium rare, cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until the internal temperature of the beef reaches 130F/55C.

10. Let it rest for five to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with potatoes, vegetables and a red wine sauce, if desired. Enjoy!

 

To sample some of the delicious creations from student chefs at Lethbridge College, book a table in the Garden Court Dining Room by calling 403.320.3230.

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