Beef Wellington

I'm not sure about this dish having ANY thing to do with the famous Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesly), but this is a great English dish that has a lot of good memories. While growing up, my parents took me nearly everywhere. Part of this (though they did this more on their own for date-nights), my parents would take me to a 'fancy' restaurant.

The place was Edwards in the old Academy Building down town. While most of my experiences there were their treat, before they closed up their doors I at least had one opportunity to take them to the same place. With a menu that was several pages long and full of things most would have a difficult time pronouncing, this dish, was about the only thing recognizable as safe (for a late-teen / early-twenties guy).

What I remember most was the first taste, having the fork slide through this cut of beef and it flake apart without much help at all required from a knife. The taste... worth even the time spent making it. Since I can't say I have seen any restaurant locally that has ever been willing to take on this dish (in the last 20 years), I figured I would give it a try again (can't remember if I made it before or not) and surprise my wife on her birthday.

Ingredients

Mushroom Duxelles:

2 tablespoons butter

2 minced shallots (half-dollar circumference)

1 teaspoon garlic (minced)

1/3 pound shiitake mushrooms (wipe clean to keep dry, stem and mince)

1/3 pound italian / button mushrooms (wipe clean to keep dry, stem and mince)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons dry white wine

Bordelaise

2 minced shallots (half-dollar circumference)

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups red table wine

1 beef bouillon cube

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon corn starch

Beef

2 pounds beef tenderloin (thick cut into 8-ounce chunks)

2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 pound foie gras (cut into 1-ounce slices)

1 pound frozen puff pastry (sheet style)

1 large egg

2 teaspoons water

Preparation (20min)

Part 1: Sear & Cool Beef

    • heat olive oil in a pan on medium-high
    • when to temperature (but not so hot it is smoking), add the beef
    • sear the beef (approximately 2min on every side
    • set the beef aside to cool, completely
    • turn your oven on to pre-heat at 450-degrees

Part 2: Duxelles

    • add butter, garlic, and shallots to pan and start to render them (shouldn't take more than about 30sec if minced properly)
    • once you start to see the onions render, add the mushrooms, salt and pepper
    • cook these down till almost dry in the pan and then add wine
    • cook this down again till nearly dry in the pan
    • remove from heat

Part 3: Assembly

    • take the thawed puff pastry (use parchment, don't add any flour to mix) and roll it thin cutting into 7-inch squares
    • the making of the duxelles should take long enough that your beef is now cooled properly (important, as you don't want soggy pastry)
    • top each tenderloin chunk with duxelles and then press the foie gras (HINT: if you cannot find this, a good smoked braunschweiger will work fine) over the mushroom duxelles flattening it over the tenderloin to hold the mushrooms onto the meat
    • flip the topped tenderloin over (duxelles and foie gras down) onto your pastry and top with more duxelles (you should use all of it)
    • lastly, pull the corners to the top of the pile of mushrooms and beef you now have and pinch the seams together tightly (though be careful not to make the seams thick)

Part 4: Baking & Waiting

    • your oven should be plenty pre-heated at this point (450-degrees to start)
    • take a baking sheet and place parchment across the top (unless you really like dishes)
    • flip the individual wellington's over so your seams are down on the baking sheet
    • cut an 'X' in the top of the pastry (but not so much as would go through to the stuffing) and poke a single hole in the top (center of the 'X') to allow steam to come out while baking
    • now take your egg and water (bet you were wondering why this was there) and beat those together real well and baste the top and sides of the pastry
    • 10min @ 450 and another 15-25min @ 425 (your goal here is about 145-degrees at the center of the beef (check by instant read thermometer through the tiny steam-hole at the top of the wellington)
  • while you are waiting, this goes GREAT with a bordelaise sauce, render the shallots in butter and then add about 1/2 teaspoon corn starch and stir well
    • once the corn starch is mixed in well, add the wine, sugar, and bouillon and cook down at least by half, but at least till it thickens
  • once the wellington has cooked completely, pull out and let stand for about 5min (more for the pastry than anything else) and then lift off and plate toping it with the bordelaise

Total Time: 1-1 1/2 Hours depending on ability to multi-task