Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pyrogies, Wareniki and Days Long Past

When reading one of my German cookbooks recently--called Alles Soljanka oder wie?--I came across a recipe called "Wareniki."  It immediately reminded me of my long-time friend Jerry Sarabin, who had been of Ukrainian descent, and who had often talked about the dish that his mother had made.  When I read the recipe, I knew I would have to write about it.  Not only because of Jerry and his "wareniki" but also because of the word I know better--pyrogy--which reminded me of my mother-in-law, Kate, as that is what she called them.

Kate below, in the 1950s
I had not seen a recipe for wareniki or pyrogies in a German cookbook before, although perhaps parts of former East Prussia (now Poland) knew that dish.  (In this part of Germany, Swäbische Maultaschen are somewhat similar, in that pastry is wrapped around a filling--quite a different filling however.) 

Thousands of Russian/USSR troops (including Ukrainian) were stationed in the former DDR during the Cold War era, bringing some of their dishes and recipes with them.  As well, East Germans, who were allowed to travel only to the East Bloc countries, likely discovered such dishes as wareniki while visiting those countries, thus bringing memories and recipes home. 

The Alles Soljanka cookbook is about the food that home cooks in former East Germany served their families during the DDR era (1949 - 1989).  Wareniki (pronounced 'vareniki') is only one of the recipes--but the one that caught my eye.  Of course, Kate grew up with pyrogies, her mother no doubt having brought the recipe "in her head" from eastern Austria.  I am sure, too, that Jerry's mother knew how to make them long before the family left the Ukraine.

The map below of Galicia and some of the history I found on the website of, which had excerpted it from the web site of
What is interesting is that both families, Jerry's and Kate's--one of Ukrainian descent, the other of Austrian descent--came from Galicia.  That province was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and under Austrian rule from 1771 to 1918.  It was created artificially in 1772 with the partition of Poland.  The treaty between the last King of Poland and Empress Maria Theresia of Austria took effect on 18 September 1773.  (The vertical line near the centre separates the Ukrainian Galicia on the right from the Polish Galicia on the left.)

At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, persecution of Ukrainians by both the Russians and Austrians began.  Following the Russian Revolution, in April 1917, Ukraine gained autonomy.  In October 1918 they formed a state called Western Ukrainian National Republic, which included eastern Galicia.  The Austro-Hungarian Empire was disintegrating.

After WWI all of Galicia ended up being part of Poland again.  So many wars, so much history.  In 1943-44 the Red Army regained Eastern Galicia and it became incorporated in the USSR's Soviet Ukraine.  Western Galicia remained part of Poland.  Finally, in 1991, the Ukraine became an independent nation and Eastern Galicia became part of independent Ukraine.  Minor parts of western Galicia remain in Poland.  None of it remains part of Austria.

I could not understand in the beginning why my mother-in-law Kate's family were Austrian and from Galicia and Jerry's family were Ukrainian and also from Galicia.  I now know why:  two parts to Galicia and two countries.  (Kate's family lived in Austrian Galicia well before it became part of Poland at the end of WWI.  By that time, they had been in Canada for more than 15 years.)

I have known Jerry and Marina since 1956.  We met at RCAF Station Greenwood, where Jerry and my husband were stationed.  We remained friends throughout their careers.  In 1970, with both now stationed in Winnipeg, Marina and I began taking gourmet cooking classes together and then putting them to work in our kitchens, often having family dinners at one house or the other.  We have continued to keep in touch all these many years later.

Jerry and Marina in 1974 (at right).  

The picture below left was taken in about 1975 at the Reminihof in Wittelbach, Germany.  The picture on the right, a picnic, was taken near Greenwood, N.S. in 1958.  (Marina and Jerry, Satch and young Terry)

Spargel season in the 1980s here at our house in Germany.  Hans is demonstrating how to peel white asparagus with Jerry copying him.

Jerry's parents and his sister Olga emigrated to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan about 1931/32 from Galicia in the Ukraine.  His father's brother lived on a farm outside the city, thus the reason for choosing that area.  Jerry was born in Prince Albert, Sask. in 1935.  He grew up speaking the language at home as well as growing up with all the Ukrainian traditions and foods.

He loved wareniki--I think the ones filled with sauerkraut but also those made with cottage cheese.  (He also liked cabbage rolls--another of Kate's specialties--made with buckwheat.)  Recently, at a Russian grocery store in Lahr, I found frozen wareniki, with a choice of fillings:  potato, sauerkraut or cottage cheese.  I bought a bag of the potato wareniki to try.
Below, all of us at Dennis' wedding (Satch's brother) in 1960.  Mac and Kate on the left (Dennis partly hidden) with three of Kate's sisters (from left, Mary, Lil and Anne) in the photo beside me, Satch and our two young children, Susan and Terry.

Kate's parents, her sister Emily, maternal grandparents and other family members emigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba in about 1902 from Galicia, Austria.  Kate was born in Gimli, Manitoba in 1905.  Her parents homesteaded, clearing land for farming.  Years later, two of her brothers, John and Adam, had huge farms and many cattle.  I remember, from visits there, that the freezers were always filled with pyrogies and cabbage rolls along with homemade pies.  Dinner would be on the table in no time with enough for ten people--and usually there were that many of us.

Below, Terry and Kate, in 1957.  His Dad had just returned from duty at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, thus the T-shirt Terry is wearing..

Kate was a great cook and a wonderful woman.  Although she, her husband and two children eventually left Selkirk, Manitoba for Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, she continued to cook and bake the foods she knew.  Whenever she visited us she would make enough pyrogies and cabbage rolls to last us for some time.  Here is her recipe for pyrogies as she made them for me and my sister Paula in July 1981, not long before I left for Germany to work at the Canadian Forces hospital in Lahr.  I wrote the recipe down as she made them.  Below, freshly made pyrogies.

Kate's Pyrogies
4-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup or more water (Kate used 1 cup of the potato water instead of all plain water)

A Regular carton cottage cheese (drain well and mash fine)
7 small potatoes (mashed) (Save 1 cup of the potato water from boiling the potatoes)
2 tsp salt
1 egg

Mix together the first three dry ingredients in a bowl.  Mix together the 3 eggs, oil and potato water.  Make a well in the flour mixture and add the liquid ingredients.  Mix well and knead (in bowl) until smooth (add a bit more water if needed while mixing).  The longer you knead, the better (10 minutes or so).  Let dough sit at least one hour.  Keep covered with wax paper.  In the meantime, mix together the filling ingredients well.

To fill pastry:  Take a length of dough and cut it into equal parts and form small balls.  Roll each out.  Add a tablespoon or so of filling to each rolled out piece of pastry.  Fold one long side over to the other long side and crimp the edges shut with your fingers.  Keep on well floured wax paper while making them.  (My friend Gertrud rolls out the whole pastry, using a cutter to cut each individually--as one does for doughnuts or cookies--and then fills them.)  I have watched both Kate and her sister Lil making them by hand and they certainly worked quickly.  I'm afraid I was much slower the one time I made them!

Have a pot of boiling water ready with salt and 2 tablespoons oil in it.  Place the filled pyrogies into the boiling water, but do not overfill.  (Change water every third batch.)  Gently stir them to keep them from sticking.  Let the pyrogies rise to the top.  Allow them to simmer a few minutes and then remove them with a slotted spoon into a large bowl.  Gently stir melted butter onto them until all are coated or shake the bowl gently instead.  The butter helps to keep them from sticking together.

The just-cooked pyrogies with melted butter.

To serve:  Fry some bacon until crisp and then crumble it into small pieces or bits.  Melt some butter.  Place some pyrogies on each plate and pour the melted butter and bacon bits over them.

Here is the way I like them best:  Melt the butter in a fry pan and place the cooked pyrogies in the pan, sauteing them carefully until golden and a little crisp on both sides.  Place them on plates and pour the melted butter left in the pan over them and then sprinkle them with fried bacon bits.  You can instead add the bacon bits to the butter in the pan if wished.

Kate's youngest sister, Lil, who lived in Winnipeg (and still does), made them for us when she and her friend Edna visited us in Lahr in the mid 1970s.  (Satch had been posted to Lahr in 1974 and we lived there for three years at that time.)  Lil's filling was similar to Kate's, though with a few differences.  Lil's Filling:  She used 1 pound cottage cheese, mashed potato (equal amounts of cheese and potato), 1 egg (if cheese wet, yolk only), chopped onion (as much as desired), salt and pepper.  Also excellent.

My mother-in-law spoiled me and just for me would make some pyrogies filled with mashed potato and Cheddar cheese, along with a little onion, salt and pepper.  I loved them, although I later came to like those with the cottage cheese in them as well.

The photo below, from 1958, is unclear, but another of Kate with Susan.

Another pyrogy the family loved was not really a pyrogy at all; we called them "big pyrogies" to differentiate them from the regular ones.  My husband and his brother Dennis called them "blue boys" as they turned slightly bluish-grey when cooking.  (Likely, though, as Kate always made a big batch of them at one time, the potato had coloured slightly from sitting a few minutes before being cooked.)  Kate called them "karumba" pyrogies, likely the name her mother called them.  The only similarity to the regular pyrogies is the filling, which is identical.  I have never made "blue boys" but Satch made them each year for the kids for New Year's Day.

Here is Kate's recipe for Blue Boys, Karumba or Big Pyrogies
15 pounds potatoes, grated (hard work!)
Mashed potato (small to medium bowl full)
2 eggs
2 Tbsp flour

Kate placed the grated potato into cheese cloth or a dish towel and squeezed it above a bowl.  She would let it hang a while to continue dripping and then would squeeze it again.  It is important to get all the liquid out of them.  She would then pour off the water but save the starch at the bottom of the bowl, which she would then put back into the grated potatoes.  After the potatoes have been drained and starch returned to them, she added the mashed potato, eggs and flour and mixed them well.

While the potatoes are draining, prepare the filling, which is the same as for the small pyrogies.  
Now, with your hands or a big spoon, take enough of the grated potato mixture to make a good-sized ball.  Then flatten it in your hand, add a spoonful of filling, and close the grated potato mixture all around it until it is well enclosed.  Continue until all the grated mixture and filling are used.

Place the balls into a large pot of boiling, salted water (don't overfill).  Stir very gently in the beginning with a wooden spoon so that they don't stick to the bottom.  When the balls rise to the top, let them simmer a couple or so minutes and then remove them with a slotted spoon into a bowl.  As with the small pyrogies, place them on serving plates and pour melted butter and fried bacon bits (if wished) over them.  Also, as for the small pyrogies, they are very good sauteed in butter in a frying pan until golden and slightly crisp, especially when having them the following day.

At left, Lil and her daughter Elaine at my nephew Stephen's wedding (Dennis' son) in about 1999.

Lil's Big Pyrogies:  Grate and squeeze potatoes as Kate's above.  Then add the mashed potato (a cottage cheese dish full); add some salt, and one egg, which is optional; she said it is not needed.

In Germany there are also similar large pyrogies, which are called Kartoffelklösse or Kartoffelknödel, but they do not have the same filling.  Hans makes Kartoffelklösse each year for our Christmas Day goose dinner.  Every fall and late winter the Kleiner Meierhof serves them with their wild boar. 

Those above and at right at the Kleiner Meierhof in Ettenheimweiler are much lighter in colour but similar in size (although a little smaller).

I have made the small pyrogies only once, although I keep saying to myself that I shall make them again.  Such a lot of work and I end up, when making pastry, with flour everywhere.  I am not a great pastry baker and really don't like making it.  My sister Paula, on the other hand, makes wonderful pastry.  So did my mother and so did Kate.  I'm hoping someone else will make them one day, but, if not, I shall buy the ones in the supermarket.  As I did this time!  (The package ingredients included potatoes, flour, water, egg, onion, salt and pepper.)

I cooked the frozen wareniki (without thawing) in a large soup pot of boiling water with salt and oil added to it.  (Kate and Lil's were fresh, not frozen, when cooked, but they are cooked the same way.)  I stirred them gently.  After they rose to the top they simmered for a few minutes before I slid them carefully into a large bowl.  I poured some melted butter over them and shook the dish gently, before serving them with hot melted butter from the frying pan and crisp bacon bits, freshly fried, on the side.  They were excellent!

Guten Appetit!

A Note:  My niece Shelley (MacDonald) Reid and Dwain (Sarabin) Sager Wilson, the daughter of my friend Marina, gave me a  lot of information about each side of the family.  I did know some of it, of course, but not the names of places from which each family came nor exactly when.  My friend Marina also contributed to the information.

For those new to my blog, click any picture to enlarge it and then click on the arrow at the top left of the blog to return to the post.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The German-Canadian Club's 40th Anniversary in Lahr, Germany

On a hot Saturday afternoon (7th of May), several members of the German-Canadian Club began setting up tables in the city park for an official presentation of a bench to be donated to the Stadtpark and the City of Lahr.  Jürgen Kull--the founder of the club and its first president--and his wife Gitta were donating it in the name of the club on its 40th anniversary (1971 - 2011).

Sitting on the bench are the following, from left to right:  Dr. Wolfgang Müller, the Oberbürgermeister of Lahr, Gitta and Jürgen Kull, Trisha Cornforth.

Below, a couple views of the park and its vegetation and flowers.

The presentation was made and pictures taken.  A young German man, Christian Hanold, who grew up in Lahr and who now works at the Canadian Consulate in Bern, Switzerland, presented a bell to honour the closure of Canada Haus.  He said that it is traditional in Switzerland to present a cow bell to someone who is leaving, whether retiring or moving on.  In this case, it was Canada Haus and its members.  It will now have to be decided just where to hang it, as there is no longer a Canada Haus.  Christian volunteered at Der Kanadier, the weekly military newspaper (as did I, and where Trisha worked for many years), the year prior to the closure of the paper and of Canadian Forces Base Lahr.

Below, Christian Hanold presenting the bell to Trisha Cornforth, the last president of Canada Haus and the present president of the German-Canadian Club.

A group of four Canadians from Alberta, who live in Gibbons, a small town near Edmonton, had arrived in Lahr the day before with no idea that anything would be happening at the Stadtpark.  Bill and Janice Moore had been back to Lahr several times for reunions and we had been in touch since then.  Two friends of theirs, Gray and Bev Lysechko, who had formerly been stationed at Canadian Forces Base Baden, accompanied them on this trip.  At Bill's request, I had organized a get-together with them and a small group of us here at the Gathaus Damenmühle on Friday evening, the day prior to the German-Canadian Club presentation.  Thus four Canadians, all of whom had been stationed in Germany at one time, were part of the celebration on Saturday.

On the left, Hans Partenheimer, Trisha Cornforth, Bill and Janice Moore, Bev Lysechko.  In the picture at right:  Bev and Gray Lysechko, Ingrid and Jürgen Puschmann and Jürgen Binder.

The totem pole in the Stadtpark was donated by Canadian Forces Base Lahr to the City of Lahr in 1977, the tenth anniversary of the arrival of the Canadian military there.  It was carved by Chief Tony Hunt of British Columbia.
The German-Canadian Club members continue to meet every second or third week.  Should anyone be in Lahr and wish to join them, please get in touch with Trisha Cornforth.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Beef Wellington

The first time we had Beef Wellington was on Hans' birthday in March 1999.  He had decided to cook rather than going out to eat and wanted to try this dish.  It was wonderful.  With it, we had whole red potatoes cooked in broth and fresh green beans tied with bacon.  The sauce was excellent.  For wine, we had a 1992 Cos D'Estournel from Bordeaux, one of our favourite red wines.  I had made my frozen chocolate mousse for dessert, but it had to wait for the following day as we could not eat anything more!  The next time we had this dish, we invited friends here in Germany to share it with us and after that, we served it in Nova Scotia to family and friends.  Superb every time.
 The baked Beef Wellington
Hans has prepared and baked Beef Wellington a number of times since then.  It is rich, high in calories and a lot of work.  But why worry about that, we feel, as it is not as if one eats this every day or every week or, for that matter, every year.

The origin of the recipe is not really known, though most agree that it was named after Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington.  (Many of us heard about him in school when memorizing the date and history of the Battle of Waterloo, which took place on June 18, 1815 just south of Brussels, Belgium.  Napoleon was defeated by the Coalition led by Wellington and the Prussian Army commanded by Gebhard von Blücher.  At the end of that battle, Napoleon's rule as Emperor of France was ended and he was exiled to Saint Helena, where he died in 1821.)

The postcard below is one I bought at Waterloo in 1963.  Note the lion at the top of the hill, lying facing towards France.
Many believe the dish didn't come into being until the end of the 19th century, although roast beef with a flour and water pastry wrapped around it was likely served before that time in England and Ireland and perhaps long before that in France.  No one seems to know when that dish was first presented, nor who it was:  the English, the Irish or the French.  As Julia Child and Simone Beck say in their cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II, the French would surely not have named it after Wellington!  (The French translation for this recipe is Filet de Boeuf en Croute.)

Many food writers say that it was popular in the 1960s' era in the United States (likely in Canada also as we all read American magazines), with many hostesses making it the star attraction at dinner parties.  I was not one of those, although that is when I began experimenting seriously with different recipes, both for the family and for dinner parties.  I had decided that if I had to cook meals for the rest of my life--little did I know someone else would take that on eventually!--I was not going to cook the same thing every week and I would look at it as a hobby.  Thus cooking and collecting recipes became a lifelong interest.  Although I don't cook that much today, it remains a huge interest of mine.  I still cut out recipes and file them away--in file folders in a filing cabinet and on the computer.  And occasionally I still do cook!  But "Beef Wellington"--that is Hans' specialty.
There are three main parts to the dish:  the fillet of beef itself, the goose or duck pate de foie gras mixed with the farce, plus the puff pastry that is wrapped around it.  We use duck pate as the goose pate (from Alsace) is from forced-fed geese.  The duck pate is less expensive (though not cheap) and is also very good.

These days it isn't necessary to make your own puff pastry, but if one is so inclined, it can be made the day before and kept well wrapped in the fridge.  We find the store-bought puff pastry to be excellent.

A good sauce is a must and that can also be made the day before, though if you wish to use the liquid from pan-frying the fillet as the basis for it, brown the fillet and make the sauce after removing the fillet from the pan.  (Wrap and place the beef in the fridge overnight before cooking it the next day.)  Hans made both the sauce and the farce the day before.

 There are many recipes to be found for this dish with each one being somewhat different.  Hans follows a German recipe from a book we have had since 1982, Das Grosse Buch Vom Kocken by the well-known cooking magazine essen und trinken (to eat and to drink).  We have never been disappointed.  Here is the recipe, translated from German.

Beef Wellington with Sauce Perigord - 6 to 8 portions
(The Perigord is a region in southwest France renowned for its truffles and also for its goose liver pate.)

3 shallots, finely chopped
500 grams (approx. 1 lb) champignons, cleaned and finely chopped
30 grams (1-1/4 oz) butter
3 Tbsp Madeira plus 4 Tbsp (Hans uses 4 and 4)
3 Tbsp whipping cream
Salt and pepper from the pepper mill
1 bunch Italian (smooth/flat leaf) parsley, finely chopped

1.5 Kilo (3 lb) beef fillet (from the centre of a fillet) (*Hans' fillet was 800 grams, so smaller)
3 Tbsp olive oil
100 gram (4 oz) goose liver pate (or duck liver pate)
About 400 grams (about 14 oz) puff pastry (a good-size piece of pastry that will surround and cover the fillet)
1 egg, separated
1 tsp meat extract
Worcestershire sauce
1/8 liter (1/2 cup) whipping cream
1 piece of truffle, best fresh (Hans uses 30 to 40 grams--2 ounces or so--truffles)**

Note:  *Though Hans had a fillet of only 800 grams (more than enough for two full meals for two persons), he made the sauce and the farce according to the recipe above.  Any sauce or farce left over can be frozen.  **He buys the fresh truffles from a seller on the internet.  It isn't cheap, but it is well worth the cost as it adds tremendously to both the farce and the sauce.  He adds chopped truffles to both, the amount depending on how much you have!

Farce:  Saute the chopped shallots in melted hot butter until they are glassy (a couple of minutes).  Add the chopped mushrooms and saute until steaming.  Cook until all moisture has evaporated.  Add the 3 to 4 tablespoons Madeira and the 3 tablespoons cream and stir them into the mushroom and shallot mixture; cook until all liquid has evaporated.  The farce must be dry.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper; add the chopped parsley and stir it into the mixture.  Remove from the stove and allow to cool.  (This can be prepared the day before and kept in the refrigerator overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 225C (440F).  (Hans had a smaller fillet at 800 grams; he baked his at 200C (400F).

Season the beef fillet with salt and pepper.  Add the olive oil to a fry pan and heat until very hot; add the fillet and brown well on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the pan and allow the beef to cool.

It is then time to cover the fillet with the farce and wrap it with the puff pastry.  (I must now confess that I completely forgot to take pictures as Hans prepared the beef.  Instead, I took pictures replicating it well after the fact!  Foil is not used, of course; I am using that to represent the farce that would be around the beef (also it stands out).  A picture is worth a thousand words as the saying goes.

While the beef is cooling, break up the goose or duck liver pate and mix it in with the cooled farce (mushroom and shallot mixture) and stir it all together well.  Unroll a piece of puff pastry, a rectangle large enough on which to place the fillet and one that will cover it well. 

Place the length of the fillet on the pastry lengthwise, not directly in the centre but a little towards the (narrow) side as shown at the left.  Spread the farce all around the fillet with your hands so that it is well covered.

Now, lift the (narrower) side of the puff pastry onto the fillet as shown on the left.  Then lift the bottom of the pastry onto the fillet, as shown at right.  (You need more pastry at that end than I am showing but you get the idea.)

Now place the top of the pastry onto the beef and farce as shown on the left; now both ends are covering the pastry.  Finally, lift the long and wider side of the pastry onto the fillet so that is is totally covered and all the sides overlap, as shown on the right.

Brush the egg white over the pastry so that the seams are well covered, as that will keep the sections together.  Brush the egg yolk over all to give a nice golden colour to the puff pastry when baked.

Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes if you like it medium-rare.  Longer for well done.  Leave in the oven until the puff pastry is nicely browned.  Remove it from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes.  (Hans baked ours for 35 minutes at 200C (400F); keep in mind that our fillet was 800 grams.)  Remove the Wellington carefully from the pan.  Then take a picture before carving into slices and placing them on a serving tray or on the plates!

The picture below shows the Beef Wellington as it came out of the oven.
Sauce:  In the (hot) drippings left in the pan from searing the beef fillet, add some broth (about 1/8 liter or 1/2 cup water and some meat extract).  Stir quickly.  (Note:  You can use a package of sauce (instead of the broth), such as Knorr or Maggi, one that is relatively neutral.  That will help thicken the sauce; otherwise, it will be thinner and need a thickening agent.  Follow package directions and then add the rest of the ingredients.)

Add 4 tablespoons Madeira and a little Worcestershire sauce.  Let simmer for a few minutes until melded well and then stir in the 1/2 cup of whipping cream.  Add the remaining finely chopped truffles just before the sauce is finished.  Do not cook more.  Place the sauce in a sauce boat and let the guests serve themselves.  (Hans tastes often as he cooks and will add a little more to his sauces of certain ingredients when he thinks it is needed, especially when it comes to sweet or sour cream, creme fraiche, butter, Madeira, Sherry, Cognac or wine--though not too much more.)

I have several other cookbooks that also give a recipe for Beef Wellington.  In the food of France published by Murdoch Books--a British cookbook--you make your own pate from chicken livers, with garlic and brandy or Cognac added to it.  The pate is spread over the puff pastry rather than onto the beef fillet first and then all is wrapped around the fillet.  The oven temperature is 200C (400F) and baked for 35 minutes for a 1 kilo (2 lb) fillet.

In Johann Lafer's Meine Kochschule, he adds cooked Schinken or bacon to his farce.  For 800 grams of fillet, he bakes it at 230C (450F) for about 25 minutes.  Lafer is a chef and owns his own restaurant and has a TV cooking show.  He writes for magazines as well.

In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two, by Julia Child and Simone Beck, they recommend brioche dough rather than puff pastry.  They say that it is beautiful to look at along with being light, thin and cooked all the way through.  They also say that is never the case when using puff pastry as it is always damp under its exterior.  We, however, find that our puff pastry was cooked through, though it can be somewhat damp with the farce directly underneath it, a good reason to make sure the puff pastry is browned well and thus crisper.  It is also much easier than making brioche dough!

In The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, they say they are not devotees to this dish.  Their recipe is interesting, however.  They roast a 5 lb (2-1/2 kilo) beef fillet for 25 minutes in a 49C (120F) oven.  They then suggest, on taking the beef out of the oven, to flambe it with 1/3 cup of brandy.  They then spread the farce over the puff pastry (not on the fillet) and set the fillet on top, wrapping the pastry around it.  They bake it in a 220C (425F) oven for 10 minutes before lowering the oven temperature to 190C (375F) and baking it for another 20 minutes or so.  They allow it to stand for 15 minutes before carving.

In The Gourmet Cookbook Volume II, published first in 1957 (I have the 1971 Third Printing edition), the recipe is somewhat simpler.  They season the fillet and then smear it with butter.  It is then placed on a flat pan along with small pieces of celery, onion, parsley, a bay leaf and a pinch of rosemary.  It is baked at 230C (450F) for about 25 minutes.  After removing it from the oven, it is cooled.  It is then wrapped with a good layer of pate de foie gras (not a homemade farce) and wrapped in pie pastry (not puff pastry), which is brushed with egg yolk.  It is baked at the same temperature for another 15 minutes or until the crust is browned.

The Gourmet Cookbook Volume I also has a recipe, somewhat different.  The top of the fillet is spread with pate de foie gras (not a farce) with chopped black truffles sprinkled across it.  It is then covered with puff pastry and baked.

As you can see, there are many recipes for this dish with variations, some of which are good ideas.  I am sure the other recipes are excellent, but we shall stick with the one we have had for many years as it has always been superb.  (We might, however, try flaming it with brandy or Cognac next time--prior to adding the farce and puff pastry--as suggested in The Joy of Cooking.)

Beef Wellington is a meal to remember, whether you have just eaten it yesterday or long ago.  It is oh, so good!
Our Easter dinner this year


Our wine was a 1994 Lafite Rothschild.  Perfect with Beef Wellington.  Expensive these days, but luckily we had ordered a case of it in 1992.  I believe we have only one left.

Guten Appetit!  Bon Appetit!   Enjoy!