Our lovely Monkey Queen of Don’t Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys, was our May Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to dive into the world of en Croute! We were encouraged to make Beef Wellington, Stuffed Mushroom en Croute and to bring our kids into the challenge by encouraging them to create their own en Croute recipes!
Given that I had only just used frozen puff pastry for the first time ever back in March, I was extremely happy to see this for May’s challenge! With that said, I thought the Beef Wellington looked a mite heavy for two people* and The Boy is a well known Mushroom Hater… so clearly I had to come up with something else to wrap up in pastry.
* Given the hugeness of April’s Chicken Ballotine and then this month’s Wellington, maybe I should just start planning to host a feast for my DC challenges? Might facilitate having regular board game nights? Hmm, something to think on…
In the meantime, however, I settled pretty quickly on something we both love: samosas! (To all you purists out there, I know they’re not made with puff pastry, and that they’re fried… but come on! All the deliciousness of a home-made samosa, and all the “virtue” of a baked snack pocket! How could I resist?)
I decided I’d try to make both meat-y and veggie ones, and given that we had just ground up a batch of beef, my mission seemed clear! I had also been hoping to try two kinds of pastry (some with puff pastry, some with phyllo) but sadly that didn’t happen, so they all used puff pastry.
So, first up, fillings!
I diced up parsnip, carrot and potato, boiled it, then stirred in some peas. I divided these veggies between the proteins. For the veggie samosas, I used the dry-spiced dal from The Indian Slow Cooker (but with less salt, because wow, is that dish aggressively salty otherwise).
For the beef, I let the ground beef sit in the fridge for about 5 hours with some minced onion, garlic and ginger, some cumin seed, and salt. If I were doing it again, I’d add a little oil too.
Apologies that I don’t have any real recipes here; I pretty much went with my standby dal, and made up the beef part as I went along.
The next part was similarly straight-forward. Roll out the pastry, cut into rectangles (The Boy suggested triangles next time for added samosa-ness), brush half the edges with egg, seal, bake.
I baked these in a 400F oven for around 20 minutes. I have to say, it was very satisfying to watch them puff into little pillows of tastiness!
Quick cross-sections of the two samosa types (beef on the left, veg on the right). They were equally delicious, in my opinion, and given that I have a tonne of veggie filling left over, I can definitely see making these again sometime soon.
Honestly, I kind of feel like I cheated for this challenge — it was super-fun and so simple!