To expose students to the myriad ways mushrooms can be enjoyed, USC created “Mushroompalooza,” a weeklong event during which students were given opportunities to see and try different and unique ways of cooking and eating mushrooms. Served during the event at the Lab Gastropub, one of the restaurants at USC, this modern “throwback” is “inspired by classic Beef Wellington, which features beef tenderloin encased in puff pastry,” explains Joe Ledesma, chef at the Lab Gastropub. “Beef short ribs are braised with wild mushrooms and pearl onions in a rich beef stock and rich-tasting wine mixture. Then the dish is topped with puff pastry and baked until golden brown. It makes an impressive main course for a casual gathering with ‘Friends and Kings.’”
2 lb. boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1-inch dice
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. wild or cremini mushrooms, quartered
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine (your favorite “big red”)
2 tbsp. beef demi-glace
4 cups beef stock
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups pearl onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 sheet puff pastry, 10 to 11 inches square, (made with 100% real butter)
1 egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water
- Preheat an oven to 325°F. Season beef with salt and pepper.
- In a 3 1/2-quart wide Dutch oven over medium heat, warm olive oil. Working in batches, brown beef on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a bowl.
- Increase heat to medium-high; add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the beef.
- Pour off excess fat in pot. Return pot to medium heat and melt butter. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in wine and demi-glace, cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in stock and bring to a simmer. Add thyme, bay leaves, pearl onions, beef and mushrooms. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Cover pot, transfer to oven and cook until beef is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
- Remove from oven; discard bay leaves and spoon excess fat off cooking liquid. Stir in parsley.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.
- Place puff pastry sheet on lightly floured work surface. Using a sharp knife, score pastry with diagonal lines about 2 inches apart, forming a diamond pattern. Brush edge of pot with water, then brush pastry with egg mixture. Place pastry, egg wash side up, over pot and press edges to seal. Trim the overhanging pastry to 1 inch.
- Transfer pot to oven and bake until pastry is puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven; rest for 10 minutes before serving.