There seem to be many different ways of cooking a Beef Wellington – some use pate around the beef; some use a paste-like mixture of mushroom and herbs with bacon or parma ham wrapped around the beef.
Since the New Zealand Masterchef 2011 finals when one of the last tasks was to cook a Beef Wellington the Meateaters website has experienced an increase in numbers of people searching for a Beef Wellington recipe. There’s already one here which uses the more traditional paté option – this second version is the one with the mushroom and bacon/parma/ham option.
- a 1kg beef fillet (try to get one that is evenly thick along it’s length)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 250g mushrooms (button and field)
- 50g butter
- 1 large sprig of fresh thyme
- 100ml of good quality white wine
- 12 slices of prosciutto, or parma ham, or even streaky bacon if that’s all you can get
- 500g of puff pastry – you can use sheets or roll out a block
- flour for dusting
- 2 egg yolks mixed with 1 teapoon of water
Heat oven to 220ºC. Sit the beef on a roasting tray, brush with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with pepper, then roast for 15 minutes for medium-rare or 20 minutes for medium. When the beef is cooked to your liking (using the pressure test here), remove from the oven to cool then chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.
While the beef is in the fridge chop the mushrooms as finely as possible so they resemble a texture similar to coarse breadcrumbs.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and all the butter in a large pan and fry the mushrooms with the sprig of thyme on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has softened. Add salt and pepper to taste, pour over the wine and cook for about 10 minutes more until all the wine has been absorbed. You’ll know it’s ready when the mushroom mix holds it’s shape. Remove the thyme sprig and then cool the mushrooms off the heat. You’ve just made a duxelles (look it up).
Next you need to prepare the ingredients for rolling. Overlap two pieces of Glad Wrap over a large board. Lay the prosciutto/ham/bacon on the Glad Wrap, slightly overlapping, in a double row. What you are trying to do here is make a ‘blanket’ that will wrap right around the fillet. Spread half the mushroom mixture over the prosciutto, then sit the fillet on it and spread the remaining mushroom over that. Use the edges of the Glad Wrap to bring the prosciutto around the fillet, then roll it into the biggest sausage shape you’ve had the pleasure to make twisting the ends of the Glad Wrap to tighten it as you go. Chill the fillet in the fridge while you roll out the pastry.
Roll out a third of the pastry to a 18 x 30cm strip and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Roll out the remaining pastry to about 28 x 36cm. Unwrap the fillet (after you’ve chilled it for a reasonable length of time – obviously if you are using pastry sheets you’ll be ready to move to this stage more quickly than if you are using a block of pastry) and sit it in the centre of the smaller strip of pastry. Brush the pastry edge and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet with beaten egg yolk.
Carefully lift and drape the larger piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing well into the sides. Trim the joins to about a 4cm rim. Seal the rim with the edge of a fork or spoon handle. Don’t use anything sharp to do this – the idea is to keep the pastry perfectly sealed right around the meat.
Glaze all over with more egg yolk. Score the top of the pastry with the blunt side of a knife – don’t don’t don’t pierce the pastry!!
Chill for at least 30 minutes or more – even up to 24 hours. Before cooking brush with a little more egg yolk.
Put the beef Wellington in a pre-heated oven at 200ºC. Cook until golden and crisp – 20-25 minutes for medium-rare beef, 30 minutes for medium. Allow to stand for at least 10 mins before serving in thick slices.
Your dinner guests will be so impressed. It’ll taste amazing and look bloody stunning!
Image by cyclonebill on Flickr