Home Chef's Steak Wellington with Roasted Carrots and Mushroom Demi-glace
Review of Home Chef's Steak Wellington with Roasted Carrots and Mushroom Demi-glace
Steak Wellington (normally called beef Wellington) is a pretty tricky dish to make, and while Home Chef does make a few modification to the traditional version to make this much easier, it is for the mid to advanced level home cook.
Home Chef's version uses a piece of sirloin steak, topped with some sautéed mushrooms, and then partially covered in puff pasty. While not fully wrapped in the pasty, this version is very recognizable as a Wellington.
All the ingredients that came with the dish where good quality and fresh - I've never had an issue with the ingredients from Home Chef. And the directions on the recipe card were clear.
I thought all the flavors in the recipe were good. The carrots are nicely cooked, and the mushrooms and sauce are rich and tasty without being overly salty. The puff pasty did cook nicely and got golden brown and flaky on the outside.
However there was a big downside...for my liking, the steak was WAY over cooked. Like really, really, well done, not a trace of pink. And so, what could have been a nice steak ended up pretty dry and tough. That, for me, kinda killed the whole dish.
I've got some tips below to try to keep the steak less cooked, but given it's a relatively thin piece of meat, and you need cook it twice - first searing it, and the baking long enough to get the pastry done, I think anything below med-well is going to be tough. If that's how you like your steak...great.
For me, I'd actually skip the puff pasty all together and serve a quick seared steak over the mushrooms - and maybe bake the pasty on the side.
I'm consistently impressed with the ingredients that Home Chef has sent me. They have always been good quality, fresh and taste just like they should. They also package up ingredients for each recipe together, so you don't have to sort them from any other recipes you ordered.
In the package for the Steak Wellington, Home Chef sent along:
- 1 puff pastry dough square
- 6 oz crimini mushrooms
- 2 Sirloin steaks
- 3/5 oz butter
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 16 oz carrots
- 2 tsp. beef demi-glace
In addition to that, you just need some salt, pepper, cooking spray and olive oil.
Making the dish
Home Chef's recipe card breaks the cooking down into 5 steps, and says that it'll take an "intermediate" level cook about 45 - 55 minutes to make the dish. I found the steps where perfectly clear, and they made sense throughout. I wound up at the upper end of that time range, probably pushing a full hour. Of course, I was filming and that slowed me down a bit.
You can probably get it done within that timeframe if you move quickly. However, one of my tips below for getting a medium rare steak, actually is going to add about 45 - 60 minutes.
Home Chef breaks the steps down as follows:
- Roast the carrots: In this step you prep and chop the carrots, as well as the thyme. You start the carrots on top of the stove in an oven proof pan, with salt, pepper & olive oil. Then add the thyme. Once likely browned you move the whole pan into the oven to finish roasting for about 15 - 20 minutes
- Sear the steaks: Getting a good sear on the steaks is super important. The crust that develops creates flavor. You want to sear them at very high temp. And if you want them anywhere under well done, I would go as fast & hot as possible. The directions suggest 2 - 3 minutes per side. For me, that's a fully cooked steak. I would get the oven fan on, get the pan as hot as possible (please keep in mind, I don't mean nuclear or dangerous) and sear for 1 minute per side. Once seared, you remove the steaks to a holding plate and sauté the mushrooms.
- Prepare Puff Pasty: The one square they provide is used for both steaks, so you need to cut it in half. Then Home Chef has you do a nice diagonal design, which looks great when cooked.
- Roast the steaks: Here you take about 1/3 of the mushrooms and top the steak with them. Each piece of pasty is then wrapped around each steak, just tucked under each side (it does not go all the way around), with each end of the steak sticking out a bit. The steaks are then moved into a 450 degree oven for ~8 minutes or until the internal temp is 145. Again, I like the internal temp more like 130. And actually after 8 minutes, my steaks were more like 165. Unfortunately, you can't really hurry this step, as the pasty needs that 8 - 10 minutes to cook through and brown.
- Make the sauce: As the steaks roast, you add the demi-glace and some water to the mushrooms and reduce. Once reduced, add the butter and thyme to complete the sauce.
Once the steaks come out and are rested for 5 minutes, you're ready to serve.
So, as i said, these steaks were way over-cooked fo me, but you do have to sear them. And you have to cook them in the oven to get the puff pasty cooked.
My "hack" to keep them less cooked, would be to sear the steaks as described the first step in the process. Then, once seared, actually pop them into the fridge for about 45 minutes. That will cool the steak down (obviously) and as it roasts in the oven, it will come back up to temperature and then cook to rare, med-rare and so on. While also giving the pastry time to cook.
if you do that, just start the carrots when the steaks come out of the fridge.
So the harsh reality of this dish, is that it was really hard for me to love the taste of a well done steak. The steak itself was good quality...but when it gets over cooked it goes dry and tough. That really hurts the whole dish.
That said, if I "channel the taste buds" of someone who likes their steak well done, this was a pretty solid dish.
The technique on the carrots gets them browned nicely, which adds some flavor and texture. And it's easy to control how firm or soft they are. Just check them every few minutes near the end of the cooking time.
The mushroom sauce is what carries a lot of the flavor in this recipe. And the prepared beef demi-glace, along with the butter/thyme and mushrooms made a very tasty sauce. They can often be too salty, but this was not, and instead had good, deep, rich flavors.
The puff pastry cooked nicely to a golden brown color and crunchy texture on the top (the sides where a bit under cooked) which was a good contrast to the rest of the dish.
So, I did like the flavors, but would change the cooking technique quite a bit. I'd either "deconstruct" the puff pastry and simply serve it on the side; or I'd use my sear then refrigerate trick to make sure I was eating a med-rare steak.
This is the type I dish I see a lot in home kitchens on a "special occasion" night. The look is very cool. It seems very fancy. There's a great presentation & "wow" factor.
However, it's really kinda tough to pull off, and if you end up with an overcooked steak, the whole thing is kinda blown.
The steps are simple to follow. The ingredients were good. And the flavors were nice. However, I think 95 out of 100 home cooks are going to end up with a very well done piece of steak.
If you like well done steak, then follow the directions to the letter and you're good to go.
But if you're like me, you'll need to make some adjustments to get the most out of this dish.