Beef Wellington

beefwellingtoncut21This was the perfect focal point for our Christmas dinner.  A classic that is widely exploited on cooking shows like Hell’s Kitchen, I never really felt compelled to make an attempt at this tried and true dish.  I felt like it was far too classic to not at least attempt, and boy – I was absolutely not disappointed.  The duxelle of mushrooms, shallots, and garlic adds a depth of earthy flavour to this dish, and although I didn’t use pate, I absolutely loved the slight tang of the thin dijon layer.  I will be making this year over year, especially given that my first attempt tasted like THIS!  🙂

 

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lb beef tenderloin
  • 8 oz. crimini mushrooms, minced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp duck fat
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2.5 Tbsp white wine
  • 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper
  • dijon mustard
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, rolled thin
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions:

I thought I would try something new this time.  This is going to be a heavily photo-filled tutorial.  my wonderful husband, Weston, gifted a 50mm 1.8 for my D90 this year, so there are TONS of prep photos that need to be used.  Overall, I’m incredibly happy with the lens, so I’m hoping to take more process pictures for you from no on. 

That being said, bring your beef tenderloin to room temperature, so remove it from the fridge around an hour or so before you intend to cook it.  Season the tenderloin with salt and pepper and set aside.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

In a skillet, melt the butter and duck fat over medium heat.  Add the shallot to the melted fat, and cook for a couple of minutes until just softened.  Add the mushrooms along with the salt and pepper and saute for another 10 minutes, until they just start to caramelize. 

beefwellingtonduxelle

Deglaze with a bit of white wine and cook until the mushrooms absorb the liquid.  Set aside to cool for a bit.  In the same pan, melt another Tbsp of butter and duck fat, and when the pan gets very hot, sear the meat on all sides for 1-2 minutes per side.  One minute should get you to rare, and if you’d like your meat a little more done, this is the stage at which I would cook the meat longer.

Once seared all over, coat the beef tenderloin all over with a thin layer of dijon mustard.  Roll out the puff pastry to a size large enough to accomodate your beef tenderloin, about 14″ square and fairly thin.   Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap large enough to wrap the tenderloin completely.  Spread out a thin layer of the duxelle on top of the plastic wrap, and press down.  Lay the beef tenderloin on top of the duxelle, and then coat the remainder of the tenderloin with a thin layer of the duxelle until it’s all used. 

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Tightly roll the duxelle-wrapped tenderloin up in the plastic wrap,  and let sit for a minute or two.  Unroll the tenderloin over the rolled out puff pastry and place in the middle of the pastry.  As the plastic wrap unrolls, all of the duxelle should have adhered to the tenderloin.  With a brush, apply a bit of egg wash to the edges of the entire puff pastry.  Now, roll the puff pastry around the tenderloin, pinching up and folding as you would if you were making hospital corners on a bed, ensuring that the seam is along the bottom. 

beefwellingtonscored

Score the dough lightly with a knife into whichever pattern you like.  My OCD-ness insisted on a simple cross hash, but perhaps next time I’ll decorate with bits of leftover dough.  Brush the remainder of the egg wash onto the outside of the dough to ensure a golden and lovely crust.

Spread a bit of flour out on a baking pan, and place the dough covered beef into the center of the pan.  Bake for about 22 minutes at 425 degrees until the crust is golden brown.  At this point, the 2.5 lb. tenderloin was rare.  I would cook it for 10-15 minutes longer depending on your preferred doneness.

beefwellingtondone1

Now, moving a dough wrapped hunk of meat is great fun.  Using a large spatula, transfer the beef to a board to rest to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

beefwellingtonresting

Once the meat has had an opportunity to rest, using a sharp knife, slice the meat into inch, inch-and-a-half pieces. 

beefwellingtoncut

Once inside, you can tell how lovely the meat is – perfectly rare with a warm center.  Since there were 4 of us who wanted to eat beef last night, here is an example of the serving sizes.

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The huge piece on the left ended up being W’s piece.  🙂

I ended up serving this with Duck Confit Fingerling Potatoes, a Classic Caesar with Garlic Croutons, and my Sister’s Creamed Spinach

Enjoy!

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