In this venison version of the beef Wellington, I’ve found the Armagnac’s caramel flavours work beautifully with the natural sweetness in the onions.
- 4 venison (or beef) steaks, each about 175 g/6 oz and 2 cm/1 in thick
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large red onions, finely sliced
- 30 g butter
- pinch of sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp Armagnac
- 500 g puff pastry or croissant dough
- 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 free-range egg mixed with 2 tbsp water, for the egg wash
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 1 hour
Place a large non-stick frying pan over the highest possible heat. Season the meat all over with salt and pepper. When the pan is smoking hot, put in the steaks and sear for 30 seconds on each side. Remove and set aside.
In the same pan over a medium heat, gently cook the onions with the butter, sugar and salt for 20 minutes until caramelised and soft. Add the Armagnac and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until the onions become drier.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes before blending to a smooth paste in a food processor. Refrigerate for about an hour until cold (or freeze for speed).
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking paper. Between two sheets of baking paper, roll out the pastry to ½ cm/⅕ in thick. For each piece of steak cut two pastry rectangles slightly larger than the steak.
Brush each piece of steak with mustard on both sides, then place in the middle of a piece of pastry.
Top the steak with a heaped tablespoon of the onion mix. Brush egg wash around the pastry edges and cover with another piece of pastry. Press the edges to seal the parcel, then trim the excess pastry to leave a 1 cm/½ in border and crimp with a fork. Repeat for the remaining three steaks.
Cut a little cross in the top of each parcel and brush the pastry with egg wash. Place the parcels on the lined tray and bake for 12–15 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminium foil and leave to rest for five minutes before serving.
Recipes from Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo (Michael Joseph, 2012). Text © 2012 by Rachel Khoo. Photography by David Loftus.