Here’s a perfect little recipe for your Valentine’s Day Dinner for two – beef Wellington tarts. It’s fancy and elegant but totally approachable so you can enjoy a romantic dinner at home. Or if you are like me and have kids at home who will be joining you for said dinner then it makes a great special occasion meal too. The recipe can easily be doubled and the individual servings can be customized as desired. My oldest daughter really hates mushrooms so I leave the mushrooms off her tart (which leaves more for the rest us). It’s a win-win for everyone. Even if you are not a huge mushroom lover, you might want to give these a try. My husband and younger daughter usually don’t like mushrooms but they like them in this recipe. The mushrooms are chopped and cooked down then splashed with cream and Madeira wine. Once you assemble the beef wellington tarts with the flaky puff pastry, some pâté mousse, and a perfectly cooked beef tenderloin filet, the mushrooms melt into the background and all the flavors balance beautifully.
You might be thinking that a beef Wellington is more complicated than you want to take on. I made a classic beef Wellington for Christmas brunch a few years ago and it was indeed a multi-day, multi-step endeavor. It required a lot of prep work, chilling, and wrapping. However, these tarts are much easier. You don’t have to worry about wrapping puff pastry around a beef tenderloin covered in pâté and mushrooms. Instead, you score some puff pastry squares to create the tart shells, spread on some pâté mousse and sautéed mushrooms and then bake. Easy. I swear. Plus, the beef is cooked separately. So, you can cook it to your desired level of perfection without having to worry about under or over baking the puff pastry.
Add your favorite drink, maybe some flowers, and you’ve got a restaurant quality meal in the comfort of your own dining room. If you can arrange a sleepover for the kids at a friend’s house – all the better.
- 1½ cups beef broth
- ¼ cup Madeira wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, washed, dried, and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon Madeira wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farm), defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
- 3 tablespoons pâté mousse (such as Alexian or Three Little Pigs), room temperature
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash, optional
- 2 (4 to 6 ounce) beef tenderloin filets
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- In a small saucepan, bring beef broth and Madeira wine to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer mixture until reduced to 1 cup, 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat; add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring frequently, until most of liquid given off by mushrooms has evaporated, 7-10 minutes. Add cream, Madeira wine, salt, and pepper; cook until mixture is mostly dry, 2-3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in thyme. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and cut it in half. Cut one of the halves in half again to make two small squares of puff pastry. Save remaining puff pastry (uncut half) for another use. Place puff pastry squares on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With the tip of a sharp paring knife, lightly score a border on each puff pastry square ½ inch from edges (being careful not to cut all the way through the puff pastry). Spread half of pâté mousse on each puff pastry square up to the scored border line. Spread mushroom mixture on top of the pâté mousse equally dividing mushrooms between the two squares. Brush the borders with the egg wash, if desired. Bake for 15-20, until the pastry is lightly browned and the sides has puffed up. Let cool while the beef cooks.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Rub each steak all over with ½ teaspoon oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a 10-inch heavy-bottomed oven proof skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat on stovetop until very hot, about 3 minutes. Place steaks in skillet and cook, without moving steaks, until well-browned and a nice crust has formed on the underside, about 3 minutes. Turn steaks with tongs and cook until well-browned and a nice crust has formed on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Sear edges until well-browned.
- Transfer skillet to oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 120 degrees for rare (4 to 6 minutes), 125 degrees for medium-rare (6 to 8 minutes), or 135 to 140 degrees for medium (8 to 10 minutes). Transfer steaks to cutting board; loosely tent with foil, and let rest about 5 minutes before slicing.
- While beef rests, re-warm sauce over low heat. Then whisk in butter until incorporated.
- Slice beef across the grain and place slices on top of each tart. Drizzle a little sauce on top of each tart. Serve remaining sauce at the table.