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Monday, January 11, 2010

Beef Wellington


Beef Wellington is named after the Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo to celebrate his victory. It also happens to be damn tasty. This something I made for New Year’s day and The Husband being a meat lover he was really happy with this dish. I was expecting this to be harder than it actually was and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t that difficult. The recipe I used is here. The one thing about this dish is that it can be a bit pricy. We waited until beef tenderloin was on sale and bought a piece and froze a few weeks before I made it. This is really great for a special occasion and feeds an army.


First up was making the mushroom duxelles which is basically a paste made up of finely chopped mushrooms, French shallots, garlic, thyme and butter.


I so had to take out three quarters of the mushrooms that I had put in the food processor in the first picture; I had gotten overly ambitious. I blitzed them in batches along with two French shallots until they were finely chopped but not mushy.


I then threw them in a pan along with thyme, salt, pepper and roasted garlic paste. I let them cook until they were done and the liquid had mostly evaporated.


Next I seared the beef tenderloin on all sides. It was a bit tricky to do the sides but I grabbed it with a pair of tongs and held it in place to do it.


This recipe is a meat lover’s dream. Meat, wrapped in more meat.


The tenderloin had to be slathered in the mushroom mixture and then covered in prosciutto. In order to do this and not have everything slide off everything had to be put together and then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap so it could hold its shape.


I put a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter and then laid the prosciutto out in a thick blanket. I then spread the cooled duxelles on top.


I took my tenderloin and rubbed it with Dijon mustard and placed it in the middle.


The next part was little tricky. I grabbed the sides of the plastic wrap and yanked everything together really tightly until it made a nice meaty package. I then put it in the fridge to set and hold its shape.


The pastry was easy since I didn’t actually make it. Frozen puff pastry is my friend. I will tackle trying to make it one day, eventually. I took two packages and rolled them out big enough to cover the meat. See how the prosciutto/mushroom/beef package is holding together without coming apart?


I then folded up the sides to make a pastry envelope, cut slashes on top and brushed it with beaten eggs. This then went in the oven. To make sure it was not overcooked I stuck a meat thermometer in. I have one of those kinds that has an end that you put in your meat, you leave it in, shut the oven door and then you attach it to your base which gives you your temperature.


While the Beef Wellington was cooking I made the gravy. I ran out of shallots so I sautéed onions instead.


I added brandy. Lots of brandy.


Preserved green peppercorns.


Then garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, cream and beef broth.


I cranked it up to a boil and let it reduce for a bit.


In the oven along with the beef I was also making roasted potatoes.


The puff pastry turned nice and golden. A little overdone on the ends. Oops.


For me the meat was perfectly done. Not too red but not overcooked either. The combination of the flaky pastry along with the salty prosciutto, the garlicky mushrooms and the tender beef was phenomenal. After I snapped the last picture I doused my plate with gravy. The Husband was a huge fan of this meal. Usually he doesn’t like eating too many portions of leftovers but this time he said he would “sacrifice himself” in a very “generous” manner. I have promised him that I will most definitely make this again in the future. If you’re feeling flush with cash (beef tenderloin + prosciutto adds up) this is a great main course to make for a special occasion.

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