I made beef Wellington for my husband and myself for our 32nd anniversary in January. The idea to make this for our dinner came from watching Masterchef Junior on TV.
There was an episode where the kids were challenged to make beef Wellington, a Gordon Ramsay signature dish. But judge Ramsay didn’t show them how to make it. He simply cut through a perfectly cooked beef Wellington and told them how to make it. My brain would have shut down part way through his instructions, especially without any visuals. But these kids proceeded to tag team their way through their own beef Wellingtons, plus two sides. And most all of their beef Wellingtons came out perfectly.
So my husband turns to me at some point and says, “Those look so good. Why haven’t you ever made them?” And I really had no answer. It made me think, and I think that I thought that all beef Wellington contained liver paté, which my husband refuses to eat. But I learned that night that duxelles – finely diced, sautéed mushrooms – can be substituted for the paté. So I figured it was about time to make Wellingtons. And it was well worth the effort!
This recipe for beef Wellingtons is the Gordon Ramsay way. And if you didn’t catch Masterchef Junior the first time around, watch it next time it’s on. The kids are lovely, and act so much kinder than their adult counterparts on the adult version of Masterchef.
Beef Wellington is quite extravagant, but it’s just the sum of many parts, each of which is not difficult at all to prepare. I’ll discuss all of these parts next.
I’ve posted on making crêpes before so I won’t bother with a tutorial. You only need a total of four for these two beef Wellingtons. Crêpes are used to absorb any beef juices that leak out of the filets, which prevents the puff pastry from getting soggy!
Duxelles is a name for finely-diced sautéed mushrooms. The ones I made for the beef Wellington aren’t super finely diced; I wanted a little more texture. I made duxelles in a post called Crêpes Fourées. For those crêpes, I used a combination of fresh and dried mushrooms. For the Wellingtons, I used only fresh mushrooms. Either will work.
The duxelles recipe I used for the beef wellington:
1 stick of unsalted butter
3 finely diced shallots
1 pound finely-chopped fresh mushrooms
Sauté the mushrooms and shallots in the butter for at least 5 minutes, over medium heat. Season, then stir in the chopped parsley. Place in a colander over a bowl.
I used no liquid in the mushroom recipe whatsoever, although you can tip in a little marsala or madeira if you wish. Just make sure to drain the mushrooms in a colander before beginning the beef wellington. And whatever you do, always save the mushroom liquor to use in any kind of sauce or reduction. Check out this post if you’ve never prepped mushrooms before.
Prosciutto: I used 2 thin slices of Prosciutto in each of the two beef wellingtons.
Puff Pastry: I used purchased puff pastry that I thawed overnight in the refrigerator. There are two pieces in the box of puff pastry and I used both for the beef Wellingtons; there was plenty of pastry, but I couldn’t have wrapped any more filets.
Miscellaneous Ingredients: Dijon mustard and 1 egg.
Putting together the beef Wellington:
I’m using two – 8 ounce filets, weighed using a scale. It’s important that they’re the same size, for cooking purposes. Season the filets with a little salt and a generous amount of crushed black pepper.
Pour some olive oil, about 3 tablespoons, in a skillet over high heat. Sear both filets on both sides. You’re just searing the meat to get some caramelization. You’ll be using the same skillet to make the wine reduction later. Don’t wash your skillet!
Remove the filets from the skillet and place them on a plate. Place a teaspoon or so of Dijon mustard on each filet sing a pastry brush. Mr. Ramsay, of course, recommends English mustard, but I don’t own any. A tidbit of info from Mr. Ramsay – it’s essential to brush the mustard on the filets after having just been seared. Supposedly mustard won’t get absorbed by the meat once it’s cooled off.
The next thing to do is roll out the chilled pastry dough.
Roll it into a kind of circle, using a little bit of flour as necessary. Place a crêpe in the middle of the dough, top with a layer of duxelles, then top with the prosciutto.
On top of the prosciutto place the mustard-brushed filet, mustard side down.
I cut a little circle out of the remaining two crêpes and placed those on top of the filets. These will eventually be at the bottom of the beef Wellingtons.
Have one egg beaten well in a little bowl, and a pastry brush. The wrapping process is a little challenging, and it’s definitely harder than rolling the pastry around a whole tenderloin, with an easy one-seam fix. If you’ve ever wrapped a brie in puff pastry, this is similar.
It was also challenging for me to take pictures during the process. I already mucked up my camera with this one shot.
Eventually, I got them both wrapped and sealed. Then I wrapped and stored them in the refrigerator.
Bring the beef Wellingtons out of the refrigerator for at least an hour before you plan on putting them in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush the Wellingtons with the remaining egg mixture.
For the first time ever, I used a temperature probe that came with my oven. Right when I put them in, I pushed the probe in to the middle of one filet and it worked beautifully!
The 2 Wellingtons took only 20 minutes to cook; I removed them from the oven when their internal temperature reached 125 degrees; this is for rare beef.
I removed the beef Wellingtons from the oven and put them on a plate. They rested for 15 minutes, during which time I got my vegetables together and heated the red wine reduction.
I placed some of the reduction on two plates, and topped them with the beef Wellingtons.
Then I added peas à la Française as our simple but delicious vegetable side.
I must say, beef Wellington is a fabulously extravagant meal. You can taste all of the parts – the beef, the mushrooms, the prosciutto, and a hint of Dijon mustard.
My pastry wrapping could have been better. It should have been a tighter fit. But fortunately that didn’t affect the flavors!
Note: this recipe is for 2 individual Wellingtons. Many recipes utilize whole tenderloins, from which slices are cut. The process is the same but the timing will be different, so use a thermometer!