Going British: Beef Wellington
British food is typically something I stay away from. It’s heavy, dense, and often bland. However, as an avid watcher of Hell’s Kitchen (the only reality show I watch), one particular dish has always managed to pique my curiosity–Beef Wellington. There’s something about watching Gordon Ramsay scream at chefs for their under (or over)-cooked Wellingtons that made me have an insatiable desire for this dish.
My roommate spent the past 4 months in England, and I felt that it was my duty to defer to him for this dish. We went to the grocery store and purchased the fillet tenderloin, which came in at a whopping $18/lb. I’ve never spent nearly that much on a steak, except in a restaurant, so my expectations for the dish were very high, to say the least.
The result? Well, the picture should give you a good indication–it was spectacular. This was arguably the best steak I’ve ever had that wasn’t from a restaurant, and it was cooked perfectly. If you’re willing to put in the work, I highly recommend making it! The recipe (and Gordon Ramsay yelling) is after the break–
Beef Wellington (adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s version)
- ~2lb Beef fillet tenderloin
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8oz chestnut (they all work fine) mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large sprig fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 6 slices prosciutto or parma ham
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- a little flour, for dusting
- 2 egg yolks beaten with 1 tsp water
- Head 1tbsp oil on medium/medium-high heat, and sear the entire outside of the fillet so it’s browned on all sides. When the beef is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven to cool, then chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.
- While the beef is cooling, chop the mushrooms as finely as possible so they have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor to do this, but make sure you pulse-chop the mushrooms so they don’t become a slurry.
- Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large pan and fry the mushrooms on a medium heat, with the thyme sprig, for about 10 mins stirring often, until you have a softened mixture. Season the mushroom mixture, pour over the wine and cook for about 10 mins until all the wine has been absorbed. The mixture should hold its shape when stirred. Remove the mushroom duxelle from the pan to cool and discard the thyme.
- Overlap two pieces of cling film over a large chopping board. Lay the prosciutto on the cling film, slightly overlapping, in a double row. Spread half the duxelles over the prosciutto, then sit the fillet on it and spread the remaining duxelles over. Use the cling film’s edges to draw the prosciutto around the fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of cling film to tighten it as you go. Chill the fillet while you roll out the pastry.
- Roll out a the pastry and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Unravel the fillet from the cling film and sit it in the centre of the pastry and brush the pastry’s edges, and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet, with beaten egg yolk. Using a rolling pin, carefully lift and drape the over the fillet, pressing well into the sides. Seal the rim with the edge of a fork or spoon handle. Glaze all over with more egg yolk and, using the back of a knife, mark the beef Wellington with long diagonal lines taking care not to cut into the pastry. Chill for at least 30 mins and up to 24 hrs.
- Heat oven to 400° F. Brush the Wellington with a little more egg yolk and cook until golden and crisp – 20-25 mins for medium-rare beef, 30 mins for medium. Allow to stand for 10 mins before serving in thick slices.
If we can make it this well, anyone should be able to. Well, almost anyone…