Running from the Law: Beef Wellington

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Beef Wellington

Holy moly, mother of all good food and deliciousness...have you ever had Beef Wellington??

If not, you are missing out on one of the best dishes in the world. I had no idea I could ever make something this incredible. This recipe is horribly intimidating; it calls for about a million ingredients, has about 185 steps and took nearly 7 hours to make, but it was AMAZING. The individual steps weren't that hard, just time consuming. Seriously, how much time did Julia Child have to make dinner every day?! Anyway, with a little prep time before-hand (and store-bought puff pastry), this would have been much easier. But either way, it was SO worth it.

Since I was already spending the entire day making puff pastry, I figured I might as well use that puff pastry in something and cross off another recipe in the 10 Most Difficult Recipes Challenge. Plus, we needed to eat dinner. So, Beef Wellington it was. I know that I've tried Beef Wellington before, but I had no idea how involved this recipe was. In short, Beef Wellington is a preparation of beef tenderloin coated with pâté (often pâté de foie gras) and duxelles, which is then wrapped in puff pastry and baked.  Mmmmm.  How could that not be good?

I found this recipe for Beef Wellington on Recipezar, which is a combination of Julia Child's recipe and a local restaurant that the author liked. It was definitely not simple, but gave good step-by-step instructions that I could cross off as I went down the list. The recipe does call for pâté, which I did not use.  So, theoretically, I guess this recipe could be even better than it was had I used the pâté - however, I'm just not sure that would be possible.


Beef Marinade
 • 1/3 cup olive oil
• 1/2 cup sliced onion
• 1/2 cup carrot
• 1/2 cup celery
• 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/4 teaspoon sage
• 1 bay leaf
• 3 allspice berries or cloves
• 6 peppercorns
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup dry white vermouth
• 1/3 cup cognac or brandy

Mushroom Duxelles
• 2 lbs mushrooms
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 4 tablespoons shallots, minced
• 1/2 cup dry madeira wine
• 4-5 tablespoons mousse type pate or foie gras
• 4 (8 ounce) filet of beef
• 4 slices prosciutto, thin
• 2 sheets puff pastry

Madeira Sauce
• 2 cups beef broth
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/4 cup madeira wine

First step, marinate the meat. Place all marinade ingredients (except salt, vermouth and cognac) in a small saucepan and cook slowly until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and let cool. Season filets with salt; place in ziplock bag; add marinade mixture; pour on the wine and cognac. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.
Easy enough.

While the meat was marinating, I started working on the Mushroom Duxelles. Mince mushrooms in food processor until very small. Next, in the corner of a clean kitchen towel, twist the mushrooms a handful at a time to extract as much of the mushroom juices as possible. WHAT?? This was so weird!! I know mushrooms have a lot of liquid in them, but really? This kinda grossed me out. The author said to dampen the towel first so it won't absorb the juices of the mushrooms, which worked, but was still just bizarre to me. Reserve the juice for the sauce. Whatever Julia. I trust you, but I think it's strange.
To finish the Duxelles, saute the mushrooms and shallots in butter 7 or 8 minutes or so until the mushroom pieces separate from each other and begin to look dry. Add the madeira and boil until liquid has evaporated. Season to taste and stir in the pate or foie gras.
After the filets have marinated for 2-3 hours, remove them from the marinade and pat dry. Then heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy duty saute pan over high heat and sear the filets briefly on all sides. Return them to refrigerator until ready to assemble. Reserve the marinade for sauce.
Next, make the Madeira Sauce. Simmer all the marinade ingredients and the mushroom juice with 2 cups beef broth and 1 tablespoon tomato paste for 1 hour or so until reduced to 2 cups. Degrease, season and thicken with 2 Tbs. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup Madeira wine.
And now for the tricky part. Assembly. If you're using store-bought puff pastry, the author says, depending on the size of the steak, you can usually get two Wellingtons out of each sheet of puff pastry.

Roll out each sheet a little to accommodate the size of the filet. Cut sheet in half.

Lay one sheet of Prosciutto on each half.
Place a spoonful of mushrooms on top; place a filet on top of mushrooms; spoon a little more mushrooms on top of filet.

Wrap filet in pastry. Pinch to seal.

Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Egg wash the tops of the Wellingtons. Bake until golden brown. About 25-35 minutes.

Use an instant read thermometer to insure that the meat is done to your liking. (130-135 for medium rare)

Serve with the Madeira sauce spooned on top.

And now you can absolutely die of flavor overload. It tastes like heaven.


  1. OMG this looks amazing!!!! I've always wanted to make beef wellington! This looks soooo goooood, and I am so hungry now! Please send me some in the mail! Haha.

  2. Wow, I am so impressed! And I knew that's what you were going to do with the puff pastry. ;-) Congratulations on killing two birds with one stone! I wouldn't have the patience to spend seven hours on a recipe.

  3. I'm simultaneously amazed and terrified. That looks delicious. And totally complicated. And I'm wondering if I can get my husband to eat something covered in mushrooms.

    Did it seriously take you all day to do this?

  4. Wow! I honestly have never dared to try to make this. But it doesn't look that hard. Thanks for sharing this ... and thanks a lot, now I'm craving wellington. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog - it's amazing! :)

  5. That dish of beef is really very beneficent for health and we can learn very easily how to make it well anyway everyone should try to make this healthy food even you are very busy in or in other jobs because this is really delicious.