Special occasions call for special meals, and Beef Wellington is one of those impressive dishes that always gets a good share of “oohs” and “ahhs”.
It’s a beef tenderloin (better know as "filet" outside of the US) covered in a mushroom paste (duxelles) and wrapped in puff pastry. It looks stunning, tastes amazing, and can be prepared up to the final bake the day before the event.
There are many different ways to make a Beef Wellington — sometimes the filet is wrapped in crèpes or prosciutto before being wrapped in puff pastry. We cover it in pâté. I have tried many different methods, and in the end I always come back to this one which, incidentally, is my mother's recipe — and we all know that mom's recipes are always best! She’s been making it this way for decades and it has never failed for either of us.
This is usually our Christmas dinner and there’s a lot of planning involved around its execution. Did we get the best filet? (Argentine in this house.) How will we decorate it? Should we make two just in case? And I always scramble for an end bit with a heavy pastry-to-beef ratio which I will generously douse in gravy. Happy tummies and no leftovers, the perfect meal. xoxo Kirsty
Beef Wellington (serves 5-6)
3 lb. (1.4 kg) beef tenderloin (filet)
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, or other vegetable oil with a high smoke point
1 large can (approx. 5oz./140 g) goose liver pâté with truffles
1 package (1 lb./450 g) puff pastry
8 oz. (225 g) fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 oz. (56 g) cooked deli ham, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) Madeira Wine (or Port, sherry or brandy)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* When cooking meat, always remove it from the fridge 20-30 before cooking it to allow it to come to room temperature. Otherwise the result may be undercooked.
Preheat the oven to 425F/ 220C. Brush the beef with oil. Place it on a rack which is resting on a roasting pan, and roast for 15 minutes for a rare finish, 20 minutes for medium. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. While it’s cooling, prepare the duxelles.
To make the duxelles, add the chopped mushrooms, onion, shallot and ham to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place a frying pan over medium heat, add the butter. When melted add the onion mixture, Madeira wine, salt and pepper. Fry, stirring from time to time until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Spread the pâté over the entire cooled filet.
Roll the puff pastry into a rectangle less than 1/4 inch thick. It should be large enough to comfortably wrap around the beef filet. Spread a quarter of the duxelles mixture in the middle of the puff pastry in a rectangle shape, about the same length and width as the filet. Place the filet on top of the patch of the duxelles and evenly cover the rest of the filet with the duxelles, patting it down with a spatula so it sticks to the pâté.
Wrap the pastry around the length of the filet, moisten the long edge with a bit of water, and overlap to form a seam. The pastry on the short ends may need trimming. If so, trim them and brush with water, fold the edges up to finish wrapping the filet. It should be a nice compact package.
Brush the entire Wellington with beaten egg. You can decorate the top using pastry scraps, brush them with egg as well.
You can prepare the Wellington up to 24 hours in advance at this point, but make sure you remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before the final bake.
Carefully transfer the Beef Wellington to a lightly greased baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 425F/220C for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove the Wellington from the oven and let it rest in a warm place for 10 minutes before slicing. Do not cover it tightly with anything, otherwise the pastry may get soggy.