A Slightly Updated Classic Recipe
Beef Wellington is an absolutely beautiful dish to serve at a special dinner. It does require a little time but the results are well worth the effort. This dish always reminds me of a time long ago when people hosted formal grand dinner parties in their home. I feel that this dish always makes the dinner feel more elegant. There are many theories regarding the origin of Beef Wellington. One theory is that it is named after the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) who won the battle of Waterloo. According to foods of England there is no mention of Beef Wellington in any English cookbook until about 1970. It is therefore presumed to have French origin and then renamed. No matter the origin, we do know that it dates back to a long time ago when classic technique cooking was popular.
Beef Wellington is definitely a decadent dish. The original recipe calls for Duxelles, Foie Gras and Puff Pastry. In the recipe I was handed down by my mother the Foie Gras has been removed and sliced prosciutto has been added to help seal in the juices and prevent the puff pastry from getting soggy. The use of prosciutto is seen in many modern Beef Wellington recipes. The Duxelles is a combination of mushrooms, I like to use button, portobello and shiitake, that have been chopped and cooked down in butter with shallots and thyme. You can also add a little truffle or Chanterelle to the mix. I also add in a little fresh bread crumbs because I like the texture that it gives to the duxelles. The result is a mushroom paste that is spread over the prosciutto and then wrapped around the tenderloin.
Duxelles with fresh thyme and breadcrumbs. Choose any assorted mushrooms you like and cook down with butter and shallots before adding the thyme and breadcrumbs
You can use a 2 1/2 pound center-cut tenderloin ( will serve 6) that has been tied to retain the shape or you can use 6-8 oz portions if you would like to make individual Beef Wellington. You must sear the meat to seal in the juices before wrapping it in the duxelles, prosciutto and puff pastry. After you sear the meat, remove the string before wrapping. There’s nothing worse then getting a piece of string caught in your mouth. I have deviated from my mother’s recipe slightly after reading that Chef Gordon Ramsey rubs Dijon mustard on the meat before wrapping it. So clever, I just love that guy! After trying this I decided I really liked the flavor and spice that the Dijon mustard gave the dish. Always make sure you wrap the tenderloin securely with the puff pastry and seal the ends well. Do not leave too much dough on the end, you don’t want clumpy ends of dough. After you have wrapped the Filet in puff pastry use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes to create a beautiful design on top. This can be as easy as rolling a thin piece of pastry and creating a vine with leaves or cutting out birds like I did here for Christmas. Use your imagination, it’s your creation. Brush with egg wash before placing in oven to create a beautiful sheen on the pastry when finished. Serve the Wellington with Brandy Shallot Sauce.
How Do You Know How Long To Cook The Meat?
It will take about 35-40 minutes for a 2 1/2 pound tenderloin to reach medium rare (130-135 degrees). I recommend cooking the Wellington at 400 for 40 minutes. You can stick a meat thermometer in the center to check temperature. The ends of the meat will be more well done then the center pieces so you will have a variety of meat temperatures for your guests. Let the Beef Wellington rest for 10 minutes before slicing it. Since it will be so beautiful to look at you should place it on a platter and display it at the table while your guests are sitting down.
Can I Make The Beef Wellington Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can prepare the Beef Wellington according to the recipe up to the step before you wrap it in puff pastry. This can be done up to 12 hours before you are going to cook the Wellington. Wrap the tenderloin in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- 2½ lb Center Cut Beef Tenderloin tied with string
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 6 slices Prosciutto
- 1 sheet Puff Pastry
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water
- 16 oz Mushrooms (Shiitake, Portobello, Button)
- 2 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs (not packaged)
- ½ cup shallot chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme (leaves only)
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 400
- Add Mushrooms, Shallots and Thyme to a food processor and finely chop. Can also be done by hand but it needs to be finely chopped
- Heat Butter in a pan and saute mushrooms until liquid has been rendered. About 8 min
- Add salt and pepper and fresh breadcrumbs
- Let cool
- Season beef with salt and pepper
- Heat Olive Oil in pan and sear meat on all sides
- Let cool slightly and remove string
- Brush with Dijon Mustard
- Lay slices of prosciutto slightly overlapping on a piece of plastic wrap
- Spread duxelles over prosciutto
- place cooled meat on top and use plastic to wrap prosciutto and mushrooms around the meat.
- Chill in refrigerator for at least a half hour
- Roll puff pastry on a lighly floured surface ¼ inch thick
- Roll puff pastry in a rectangle just large enough to wrap around tenderloin. You do not want too much excess on sides. Trim pastry as necessary and keep scraps to decorate top with.
- Remove Tenderloin from plastic and wrap tightly in puff pastry use egg wash to seal
- Put seam side down and cut out decorative cut outs out of excess puff pastry to place on top.
- Brush with egg wash
- Roast in oven for 45 minutes until temp reaches 130-135 for medium rare
- Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing with a sharp serated knife
Brandy Cream Sauce
- 2 tbsp minced shallots
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ cup brandy
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp fresh cracked pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- Saute shallots in butter until light brown
- add brandy and reduce until slighly syrupy (around 5 minutes)
- take ¼ cup of broth and mix with cornstarch then mix with rest of the broth and add to pan
- simmer until starting to thicken. Around 5 minutes
- add cream, mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper
- Simmer until thick enough to coat back of spoon