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How to Cook Beef Wellington

How to Cook Beef Wellington


By Jeff Baker

"Having begun his career in a professional kitchen in 1983, Jeff Baker has since cooked for the Queen, and worked alongside some of the world’s top chefs, such..."

The classic and decadent Beef Wellington combines superbly tender beef fillet with delicious duxelle, encased in golden pastry. A real showstopper.

Beef Wellington

The origins of beef Wellington are unclear… indeed no connection has been found to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.  It seems more likely to be a dim distant cousin of the French filet de bœuf en croûte (fillet of beef in pastry).

Here are a couple of handy hints when making a beef Wellington:

  1. A duxelle is a finely chopped mixture of mushrooms, shallots (or onions) and herbs, sautéed in butter and reduced to a thick paste.
  2. It’s a good idea to have a meat thermometer for this recipe so that you can tell how the beef is going to be cooked when you cut through the Wellington.
  3. When you remove your Wellington from the oven, rest it on a cooking wire so the heat escapes equally, to avoid a soggy pastry bottom.
  4. Cut into generous slices to avoid the Wellington falling apart.

Method

  1. To make the duxelles, heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan and add the shallots and garlic. Soften them on a low heat for about 5 minutes, allowing to colour.
  2. Mix in the mushrooms, turning up the heat and cook until all the moisture has gone (about 5 minutes).
  3. Mix in the sherry or madeira and reduce until the mixture is dry.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stir in the tarragon, take off the heat and set aside to cool.
  6. To prepare the beef, pat dry all over with kitchen paper.
  7. Massage the goose or duck fat into the beef and season it with salt and pepper.
  8. Heat a large non-stick frying pan until smoking and then add the beef to the hot pan, searing until it’s a rich brown colour on all sides, including the 2 ends (you may have to hold it with tongs to do this part).
  9. Add the butter and, as soon as it’s foaming, baste the beef with it continuously for 3 to 4 minutes.
  10. Remove the beef from the pan and put in a dish to one side to chill.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan assisted) / 200°C (regular oven) / 400°F / gas mark 6

Now you’re ready to assemble the Wellington

  1. Beat the egg and milk together to create the egg wash.
  2. Measure the length of your fillet – your pastry needs to be approximately 10cm wider than this and long enough to wrap the beef and duxelles.
  3. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to a rectangle of above mentioned measurements and 5mm thick.
  4. Next lay the pancakes (or Parma ham) slices onto the pastry next to each other, leaving a border of 10cm of pastry all around.
  5. Spread a thin layer of the duxelles over the pancakes and put the beef on top – two thirds of the way up the pancakes and duxelles.
  6. Brush the pastry border with the egg wash.
  7. Being careful not to tear the pastry, roll it up until it’s fully encased the beef.
  8. Gently seal the edge by pressing it with the outer side of your little finger and then using the blunt end of a fork, press again.
  9. Trim away any excess pastry on the sides, but pinch together to seal and then press flat with your fingers.
  10. Brush all the seals of the Wellington with the egg wash and then lay it onto greaseproof paper on a baking tray – sealed side down.
  11. Brush the rest with the egg wash.
  12. Now carefully score the pastry top with a sharp knife, making sure you don’t go through the pastry and expose the filling.  You can choose your own pattern, but an easy one is to do a line down the middle, the full length of the Wellington and then opposing diagonal stripes down each side at about 1cm intervals.
  13. Put into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes. The pastry should be golden brown and brittle when it’s ready.
  14. You can check the core temperature of the beef with your meat thermometer – for a succulent pink Wellington, it should be 54°C after resting for 10 minutes, so we suggest that you remove it from the oven when it reaches 50°C. This should be after roughly 30 minutes, but check it then and keep in the oven until it gets to the right temperature.
  15. Carefully transfer the beef Wellington to a warm serving dish and serve.
  • The Ingredients
  • 1 x 750g Farmison & Co Centre Cut Fillet of Beef
  • 1 tbsp goose or duck fat
  • 2 savoury pancakes approximately 30cm diameter OR 6 slices Parma ham
  • 350g all butter puff pastry (keep refrigerated until you use it)
  • A large knob of unsalted butter
  • Maldon salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • A little plain flour for dusting
  • FOR THE DUXELLES
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms, tailed, brushed clean and finely diced
  • 2 banana shallots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped or crushed
  • 10 tarragon leaves, leaves removed from the stalk and chopped (NB if you have to buy a bunch of tarragon, then you can chop and freeze the rest of it for future use)
  • 1 ½ tbsp (25ml) sweet sherry or madeira
  • A knob of unsalted butter
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • FOR THE EGG WASH
  • 1 free range medium sized egg yolk
  • 1 tsp milk

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