I looked at a couple of different things, but decided to have a go at beef wellington. Which I've never made before ... or even eaten before.
A lot of the recipes I found suggested that it wasn't a difficult dish to make - just a little time consuming. Which pretty much covers it. This is my recipe which I kind of mushed together from all the ones I read online. There's loads of steps and plenty of waiting for things to cool so it's not something you can do in an hour - but it's worth making if you want something impressive looking. Went down a storm with my family :)
I made roasted baby carrots and potatoes to go with it as they take about the same time to cook.
Ingredients (4-6 people)
600g Fillet beef - from the middle of the fillet
1 pack of ready made puff pastry (I'm lazy I used ready rolled)
2 Cloves garlic
6 Slices of ham (or parma ham or some pancakes)
Butter/oil for frying
Flour for dusting
1 Egg for egg washing
Salt and pepper
Red wine sauce/jus
Half a bottle of red wine
1 litre of beef stock
- Trim any fatty or membrane-y bits from your meat and put it in the fridge to keep cool
- Chop up your mushrooms and shallots and garlic really small. Use a food processor if you have one, or plenty of patience to get everything teeny.
- Heat up some oil and/or butter in a frying pan add the chopped up ingredients and cook gently without browning the shallots. Keep cooking until all the water has boiled away from the mushrooms. I should look like a sort of brown paste. Add some salt and pepper. This is called mushroom duxelles.
- Put the'duxelles' into a bowl and leave to cool.
- In the mean time deglaze the pan with a splash of wine and reserve the liquid.
- Wipe out the pan and return to heat.
- Remove your meat from the fridge and pat some salt and pepper all around it. Massage a bit of oil all over it.
- Sear the meat on all sides including the end. Then set it aside to cool again.
- Whilst it cools, deglaze the pan again and add to the mushroom liquid.
- Put the cooled beef back in the fridge.
- When the duxelles (mushroom paste) is cool, mix it with the pâté and put it back in the fridge.
- There is a recurring theme here, everything has to be cool or it will melt the pastry! So before the next step I popped the meat, duxelles and ham in the freezer for 5-10 mins.
- Next put down some food safe cling film. Lay out your slices of ham (or pancakes? some recipes use pancakes for this bit instead) so that they over lap. These will be wrapped around your meat so make sure there is enough.
- Take the meat out of the fridge again and pat it dry with kitchen roll. Add any juices from the meat to the liquid collection.
- Spread some mushrooms/pâté mix in the middle and place the meat on top. Spread the rest all around the beef including a bit on the ends.
- Wrap the ham around the meat and then wrap the cling film around it to hold everything in place. Then back in the fridge to cool again.
- Next roll out your pastry on a floured surface.
- Whisk an egg with a little milk or water and brush it on the pastry.
- Unwrap the meat parcel, make sure its dry, and place it gently in the centre of the pastry.
- Fold the pastry around it making sure that it is well stuck down and sealed with egg wash. Also make sure that there is only two layers of pastry where it joins up or the pastry won't cook through.
- Turn the pastry encased meat onto a preheated baking sheet so that the seam is underneath.
- Egg wash the top and then score several lines lines across the top. Egg wash again and make two slits that go through the pastry, ham and pâté.
- Pop it back in the fridge again, for at least 15 minutes so that the pastry can relax.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes on gas mark 7/220c
- When the pastry is golden brown, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.
- To serve, first slice off the pastry at one end then cut 1inch slices. It should be quite pink in the middle.
For the sauce/jus
- Put all the reserved juices/liquids into a pan with half a bottle of red wine and simmer it to reduce it by about 2 thirds.
- Put the beef stock in a pan and reduce by half - add the reduced red wine and some thyme.
- Just before serving add a good blob of butter and mix in.
- Sieve to remove any bits and pour a little over each slice of wellington.