I remember vaguely watching so many 60's sitcoms and romantic comedies..(Don't Judge me, I was an avid Television watcher as a child.. It kept me out of trouble) in which someone would go out for a fine meal and order Beef Wellington...
I had no idea what Beef Wellington was until recently...
It's really very hard to know exactly which decade to place the Beef Wellington in: it was a hallmark of the 50's, the 60's and the 70's!
Made by wrapping a high grade fillet steak in pâté (fois gras if you could get it) and puff pastry, which was then baked together, it was an expensive, tricky and oh-so-classy, which made it the perfect show-off dish. Imagine presenting this at the table with a flourish, then carving into the golden crust to reveal a perfectly cooked medium steak. It's quite hard to master the two-stage timing required for the classic recipe.
You pan-sear your steak, then wrap it up before baking to get that gorgeous pastry crust. This recipe also substitutes pâté for a rich mushroom filling, so it's even easier on the wallet...
Anyway here is a recipe for it that you can use...
- 2 beef tenderloin steaks (1-1/4 to 2 inches thick, 8 ounce portions each)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 ounces prosciutto (8 slices)
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 pound dough), thawed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Kosher salt, for sprinkling on top of beef wellingtons
- 8 ounces brown mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 sprig thyme
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine
- ¼ cup diced shallots
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 ½ cup beef stock
- 3 ounces brown mushrooms, ¼-inch thick slices
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Defrost 1 sheet of puff pastry at room temperature on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper for 40 minutes, or until pliable yet cool. Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap if defrosted and not using immediately.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Begin making mushroom filling.
- Add mushrooms to a food processor, blender, or chop as finely as possible. The texture should be similar to coarse breadcrumbs, you do not want them to become a slurry.
- Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat and add a teaspoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add mushrooms and 1 sprig of fresh thyme, sauté for about 10 minutes until mixture is softened and moist of the moisture has evaporated. Season mushroom mixture with ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper. Remove and discard thyme sprig and transfer mushrooms to a bowl to cool, refrigerate.
Preparing the Beef-
- Trim any excess fat or silver skin from the meat. You can reform the steaks into rounds by tying the steaks with butchers twine so that it holds shape as it cooks in the pan. Pat dry the steaks with a paper towel and season each side generously with salt and black pepper.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil, you want the pan really hot before adding the steaks. When the oil begins to smoke, add the filets to the pan, and brown for 2 minutes on each side. Quickly sear the raw edges of the meat so that the red turns to brown on the surface. Remove the steaks from the pan and place on a plate to cool. Turn off the heat and save the pan with the drippings for the red wine mushrooms sauce.
- Cut off the butcher's twine if using. Brush about 1 ½ teaspoons of Dijon mustard over the surface of each filet while still warm. Set aside.
Rolling the Beef Wellingtons-
- On a large cutting board, place a large piece of plastic wrap. Lay 4 slices of prosciutto on the film, slightly overlapping each piece about ¼ inches to create a row. Spread half of the mushroom filling over the prosciutto, leaving about a ½ inch border along the sides of the prosciutto. The layered prosciutto slices will resemble the shape of a rectangle; place the seared filet in the center of the prosciutto and mushroom layer (if the beef in more rectangular in shape, than lay the beef so that the length lines up with the longer sides of the prosciutto layer). Use the plastic wrap to draw the prosciutto around the
filet, covering all sides of the filet. Roll up and twist the ends of the film to tighten. Chill the filetand repeat the process with the remaining filet.
- Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board or smooth surface, roll the defrosted pastry sheet into an 11-inch by 11-inch square. You can lightly dust the surface of the pastry with flour if it sticks to your rolling pin. Cut pastry in half into two 5.5-inch by 11-inch rectangles. Place the beef fillets covered in prosciutto in the center of each pastry. If the
filetsare rectangular, line up the long sides with the longer sides of the pastry. Lightly brush the pastry edges with water. Starting at the longer sides, bring opposite corners of the pastry over steak, gently stretching the dough if needed; press seemsto seal tightly. Fold the shorter sides up to enclose the other side of the filets, they will not reach the center, just make sure to press sides to seal the pastry. Repeat wrapping with other. filet
- Use a piece of plastic wrap to tightly seal each pastry-wrapped beef filet, and refrigerate about 5 minutes to allow the pastry to firm up again.
- In a small bowl, mix egg yolk and milk.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Remove wellingtons from the refrigerator, remove plastic wrap, and lay the filets seam-side down on the baking sheet. Brush the top and sides of each puff pastry with the egg wash. If desired, use the back of the knife of pizza cutter to create long diagonal lines on the pastry surface, taking care to not cut into the pastry. Sprinkle kosher salt on top of each pastry.
- Bake in the upper middle portion of the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the steak reaches 125°F for medium rare, or until the desired doneness is reached. The pastry should also be golden brown on the surface. Remove the wellingtons from the oven and allow to rest on the sheet pan for at least 10 minutes before slicing into medallions, or serve
wholeto each guest. Make the red wine mushroom sauce while the wellingtons are baking.
- Using the pan with the steak drippings, heat over medium heat. If you did not save the pan, use a new pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil added to the pan.
- Add the red wine to the pan, and whisk to deglaze and remove the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chopped shallots, stirring until the wine has reduced until you cannot smell the alcohol, reduced to about half.
- A 1 tablespoon flour and whisk for one minute. Slowly add the beef stock by whisking in about a ¼ cup at a time, until 1 cup has been added and the sauce has thinned to a spoonable consistency.
- Add the sliced mushrooms to the sauce, and simmer until the mushrooms are cooked and tender. Whisk in additional beef stock if needed to thin the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm on low heat until ready to serve.
- Once beef wellingtons have rested for 10 minutes, slice into medallions or serve whole with the mushroom sauce on the side. Enjoy!
EAT AND DRINK WELL MY FRIENDS!