“ Brand: Marks & Spencer / Type: Snacks „
While browsing the Marks & Spencer site for food for my Easter party I came across these Mini Beef Wellingtons and my mouth started watering immediately so I just had to buy them. Costing £9 for twelve small Wellingtons they are not the most cost effective party food, especially as I had to buy two packs, but believe me they are so deliciously moreish that price should not be an issue - sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the finer things in life.
And fine these certainly are. They are not completely enclosed in pastry as most Wellingtons are, but the small size of these would make this impossible as there would just be too much pastry if they had done this. As it is Marks & Spencer have used a flaky puff pastry to make a kind of case into which the beef and mushrooms have been added, this gives them the appearance of over-sized vol-au-vents but they are so much more special than this!
The overall flavour of the Wellingtons is extremely rich and although they're moreish because they taste so good, after I'd eaten two I realised they are slightly too rich for my palate and if I'd carried on eating them I'd have found them sickly.
The pastry itself is light and flaky, I found it a little sticky on the bottom after I'd warmed them through but this couldn't be helped and it tasted like it was the mushroom mixture that had leaked through slightly. This didn't spoil the Wellingtons for me but if you like crisp dry pastry then you might find the bases of these a bit of a let down, however the lightness of the sides of the pastry case more than made up for this and I could have honestly sat with a plate of this pastry alone without the filling!
The beef is cut into small cubes with one cube per Wellington, it's wonderfully cooked and remains juicy and succulent even after heating in the oven. I loved how moist the beef was, it's cooked to a medium finish which means there is no leakage of bloody juices but the meat remains on just the right side of rare. Now I adore rare beef and was hoping from the picture that the meat would be slightly bloody but it wasn't, however I cannot hold this against the food because obviously Marks & Spencer have to cater for everyone and I am aware that some people can't stand rare beef so they have had to hit a happy balance with this one really.
The mushrooms are actually cooked in the duxelle style, although I shall refer to it as pate even if it is rather chunkier than the pate I usually eat. They have been chopped and mixed with onion and a selection of herbs to create a very rich and flavoursome accompaniment to the meat, the pate is deliciously tender but much more substantial that it appears. I had been slightly worried that the mushrooms would overwhelm the more delicate flavour of the beef but this doesn't happen and I found it worked well to marry together the flavours of the pastry and meat.
I absolutely adored these miniature Beef Wellingtons and they went down particularly well at my party. My ten year old granddaughter couldn't get enough of them so it was lucky that I had a fair few vegetarian guests to avoid her eating someone elses share! Actually between her and my pig of a brother they probably ate at least one full pack of and really I cannot understand how they managed this considering how rich the Wellingtons are.