Beef Wellington

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The first time I tasted Beef Wellington was during my stint in London.  The investment company I worked for took us out for dinner one night to Bob Bob Ricard.  This place has a button at each table for Champagne.

pressWhich we hit REPEATEDLY.  (Photo courtesy of www.sarahakwisombe.com)

I digress.  I was SO impressed with the Beef Wellington, it combined all my favourite things in one.  It must be terribly complicated to make, I thought.

bob-bob-ricard(Photo as provided to tripadvisor.com by the management of Bob Bob Ricard)

Fast forward two years.  It was our first night having guests over for dinner in Australia, so I thought I’d give it a shot!  It turned out to be 1000x easier to make than I ever could have imagined.

Ingredients:

For the Duxelles (also referred to as Mushroom Pate):

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  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 6 cups white button mushrooms measured whole, then finely chop
  • 2 white onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (dried works as well)
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup of white or red wine (I went with red, as that’s what I was drinking)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

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For the Beef:

  • 1 (3-pound) filet mignon (I think I used a Top Round Roast, as the grocery store I was at didn’t have filet mignon)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12ish slices prosciutto
  • 6 sprigs thyme, leaves only (about 1 tbsp, if using dried)
  • 2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup flour, for rolling out puff pastry
  • 3 sheets puff pastry, thawed if using frozen
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Duxelles

Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and sautee for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Place butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Once butter has melted, add chopped mushrooms (they don’t all have to be button, substituting wild mushrooms can add nice flavour), onion, garlic, and thyme.  Sautee for about 3 minutes, add wine and beef stock and simmer until nearly all the liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Beef

Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt & pepper. Sear over high heat.  I like my steak quite rare, so I made sure to sear quickly.  If you like yours closer to medium-well, use a lower heat to sear.

In the mean time lay two pieces of saran wrap/cling film down on the counter (enough to completely surround the beef) and use the prosciutto to make to layers in opposite directions.  Using a spatula, cover this with a layer of duxelles.  Season with salt & pepper, sprinkle fresh time over this.

Spread mustard over beef.  Carefully wrap beef with prosciutto.  The saran wrap actually makes this process easier than it sounds.  Pop it in the fridge for half an hour to set.

Preheat over to 425F (228C).

Remove saran wrap from beef, wrap beef in pastry.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with thyme.  As you can see below, I didn’t attempt any fancy pastry patterns, you don’t need to to impress your guests.  Many recipes suggest piercing your pastry with a knife to allow steam to escape.  This will keep all the layers as tightly together as possible. However, moist, tender beef was more important to me than presentation, so I skipped that step.  Your prerogative.

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Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until pastry is golden.  The suggested temperature should read 125F, but honestly, I didn’t have one yet, and it turned out perfectly. (You’ve already cooked the beef nearly to your liking, so you don’t need to stress too much about the oven step, besides making sure your pastry looks perfectly golden.)

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Remove from heat and allow to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing thick pieces.

I would highly recommend preparing a gravy (recipe here) or au jus. If making the gravy from my recipe, swap out chicken stock for beef, and add a 1/2 cup red wine.

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Suggested wine pairing: Thick, south american Malbec.

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