There are many different takes on this classic below are links to some great versions.
The most important considerations when embarking on this dish are:
- Good quality fillet.
- Plenty of time after cooking to rest beef.
- Love for those for whom you are preparing the dish and passion for the ingredients.
My recipe does not use pancakes, as I believe if you start off with a good piece of fillet and rest the meat after cooking, it can’t fail to be moist and tender.
I only serve this dish rare. If you rest the meat properly, it does not “bleed” when carved. I believe even those that think they prefer their beef medium can be persuaded that rare is best!
The recipe below is for 6 people. If you cook a piece of fillet much smaller, then it is more difficult (not impossible) to achieve perfection.
Beef Wellington is fairly labour intensive if you are going to make your own pate and mushroom duxelle (mushrooms and shallots fried until juices reduced). I suggest you start the day before you want to serve the dish. I do not usually recommend specialised equipment for cooking, but I find a temperature probe really useful for this dish. Although the timings given will work, one can never tell exactly how long to cook the fillet for as our fillets will all start from a different temperature.
1 kg beef fillet
*500g ready made, defrosted puff pastry
Chicken liver pate (use 1/3 of the recipe)
350 g mushrooms( finely chopped) (large Portobello are tastiest)
1 clove garlic (crushed or chopped)
3 shallots (finely diced)
1 Tbs chopped parsley
1 Tbs double cream
1 egg yolk
* works really well, but for a real treat try Dorset puff pastry
- Ensure the fillet is well trimmed of all sinew (ask the butcher to do this).
- Melt a small knob of the butter and seal the fillet on all sides, quickly.
- Add the remainder of the butter to the pan and melt gently.
- Add the shallots and cook gently until translucent (about 5 minutes), stirring regularly.
- Now add the mushrooms and seasoning. Cook gently. The mushrooms will release moisture. Cook until all moisture has been reabsorbed – this is your mushroom duxelle.
- Stir in the cream and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cool.
- Set the fillet on a board and gently press the chicken liver pate on the top of the fillet until it is covered. Then place the mushroom mixture on top of the pate.
- Roll out the pastry in a square. Ensure it is large enough to cover the fillet and toppings plus a bit to spare.
- You now have two choices, it depends whether you want the join at the top or the bottom of the fillet.
- If you want the join at the bottom, gently pick up the fillet with its toppings and place upside down on the centre of the pastry. Ease the pastry tightly up the sides of the fillet and seal, using the egg yolk to stick the two bits of pastry. Turn the parcel upright (pate and mushroom on top, seal sides and pinch together, brush with egg yolk and mark the top of the pastry if you like. Make a small cut in the centre of the parcel, to allow any steam to escape when cooking. Place prepared parcel in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, overnight is fine too.
If you want to seal at the top, then place fillet right side up on pastry, ease pastry up sides and seal.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/ gas 6.
- Place parcel on a baking tray and in the oven for 35 minutes. Keep an eye on the pastry, if it looks like it is getting too dark, turn the oven down and cook for a bit longer. If you have a probe, probe the centre of the fillet after 30 minutes. The temperature should read 35 C when the fillet can be removed from the oven.
- Once removed from oven, gently place some foil over the top and then place several tea towels on top of this. Rest for 45 minutes and then serve. Cut into good thick slices.