Portion/Yield:Serves 4 as a main course
The classic Beef Wellington, what a stunner of a dish! It’s almost like a complete meal as you have the carbohydrate, protein, sauce and vegetable all in one, I think this makes a party pretty special.
I suppose that some people may beg to differ and argue that the classic Beef Wellington should be large and then ceremoniously carved in a spectacular manner at the dinner table. I have chosen to make individual ones as I do not like the mess associated with carving the Wellington into portions.
It’s not completely clear exactly where the Beef Wellington originated from, some says it’s a borrowed and recreated dish from the French “filet de bœuf en croûte“. It does not really matter as it’s spectacular and is bound to be the talking point of any dinner party. You might have seen the word ‘Wellington’ used as a descriptive word for variations of this dish using other proteins such as salmon, lamb or chicken.
Originally I planned to make this Beef Wellington as close to the traditional way as possible with a chicken liver pate, creamy mushroom duxelle and a pancake. Distracted by the phone ringing and with the fridge bursting at its seams I completely forgot about the pate and the pancake. Well it was not a complete disaster as it turned out spectacularly well without the pate or the pancake. I found that if the tray is heated in the oven before you bake the Wellington it seals the pastry, helps it cook from the bottom and delivers a well cooked piece of beef with a crispy pastry bottom, great!
Ingredients & Method
Mushrooms A La Crème
- 40g oyster mushrooms, ripped
- 40g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 40g shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 40g girolles mushrooms cut in ¼’s
- 1 banana shallot, diced
- 1tbs unsalted butter
- 50ml white wine
- 80ml double cream
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1tsp Truffle oil (optional)
- 1tbs sunflower oil
- 4 x 100g fillet steaks, cut even in sizes
- 1tbs unsalted butter
- 600g Home Made Rough Puff Pastry or good quality all butter puff pastry
- 1 egg, cracked and whisked
- 1tsp poppy seeds
- 100g baby spinach
- Mushrooms a la crème (recipe above)
First prepare the mushrooms a la crème. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat with the butter, once the butter starts to foam add the mushrooms, shallots and seasoning. Sauté until golden brown about 5 – 7 minutes and drain in colander. This is to drain any excess liquid. Wipe the pan clean and return to the heat, return the golden brown mushroom and shallot to the pan and add the white wine, cook until the wine has evaporated and left the mushrooms with a gloss. Add the cream and reduce until thickened and coating the mushrooms, stir in the chopped thyme and truffle oil. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Let the mushrooms cool whilst preparing the rest of the dish.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat with the oil; pat the beef fillet dry with kitchen paper and season well all over. Colour the fillet of beef on both sides about 2 minutes on each side, do this quickly as you only want to seal the meat, drop the butter into the pan whilst the beef is colouring to add extra flavour, drain on kitchen paper.
Return the pan to high heat and wilt the spinach with a dash of oil and seasoning for 1 minute in the hot pan, drain the spinach in a colander.
Roll the pastry 2 – 3mm thick, on a lightly floured work surface and cut 8 x 12 cm disks of pastry. Whisk the egg and get a pastry brush ready.
Place 4 disks of the pastry on clean work surface, place one piece of beef in the middle of each disk.
Squeeze the cooked spinach between your fingers to remove any excess water.
Brush the pastry around the beef with the whisked egg wash and place another disk over the mushrooms to cover the Wellington.
Without stretching or lifting up the whole Wellington, just raise the sides of the bottom pastry and gently press the edges together, press to crimp the edges. Your Wellington will look like a space ship.
Brush the top of the Wellington with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with the poppy seeds.
Leave the Wellingtons to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 200°C, place a baking tray in the oven to per-heat (this will help to cook the pastry from the bottom), place the wellingtons on greaseproof paper on the hot baking tray, return the tray to the oven and bake for 20 – 22 minutes. Serve immediately.
Do not roll the pastry too thick; if the pastry is too thick your beef will be over cooked by the time your pastry is cooked. Make the Wellingtons one day in advance for a dinner party, keep them refrigerated. The choice of mushrooms is entirely up to you I have chosen to use girolles as they are in season and I love them, I have also chosen the shiitake mushrooms as I like their meaty and natural garlicky flavour. You could use only one type of mushroom if that suits you. The truffle oil is entirely optional.