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.
A whole tenderloin may be wrapped and baked, and then sliced for serving, or the tenderloin may be sliced into individual portions (as with filet mignon) prior to wrapping and baking.
Beef Wellington is named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. Some have suggested this was due to his love of a dish of beef, truffles, mushrooms, Madeira wine, and pâté cooked in pastry, but there is no evidence to say for sure. Other accounts simply credit the name to a patriotic chef wanting to give an English name to a variation on the French filet de boeuf en croûte during a period when England was often at odds with France.
"Wellington" is sometimes informally used to describe other dishes in which meat is baked in a puff pastry; the most common variations being Sausage Wellington and Salmon Wellington.
Beef Wellington with Sautéed potatoes and wilted Baby Gem lettuce
400g Beef fillet
400g Flat mushrooms
4 slice Parma ham
English mustard for brushing meat
200g puff pastry
2 Egg yolks
Approx 8 Charlotte/New potatoes
1 Clove garlic, crushed
1 Sprig thyme
2 large baby gem lettuce
Salt and pepper
Mustard vinaigrette, optional
Pre-heat the oven to 200c.
Heat some oil in a large pan and quickly fry the seasoned beef all over until it's brown. Remove and allow to cool.
The point of this is simply to sear the beef and seal all those juices in, you don't want to cook the meat at this stage. Allow to cool and brush generously with the mustard.
Roughly chop the mushrooms and blend in a food processor to form a puree. Scrape the mixture into a hot, dry pan and allow the water to evaporate. When sufficiently dry (the mixture should be sticking together easily), set aside and cool.
Roll out a generous length of cling film, lay out the four slices of Parma ham, each one slightly overlapping the last. With a pallet knife spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the ham.
Place the beef fillet in the middle and keeping a tight hold of the cling film from the outside edge, neatly roll the parma ham and mushrooms over the beef into a tight barrel shape. Twist the ends to secure the clingfilm. Refrigerate for 10 -15 minutes, this allows the Wellington to set and helps keep the shape.
Roll out the pastry quite thinly to a size which will cover your beef. Unwrap the meat from the cling film. Egg wash the edge of the pastry and place the beef in the middle. Roll up the pastry, cut any excess off the ends and fold neatly to the 'underside'. Turnover and egg wash over the top. Chill again to let the pastry cool, approximately 5 minutes. Egg wash again before baking at 200c for 35 - 40 minutes. Rest 8 -10 minutes before slicing.
Par boil the potatoes in salted water. Quarter them and leave the skin on. Sauté in olive oil and butter with the garlic and thyme, until browned and cooked through. Season. Remove the thyme and garlic before serving.
Separate the outside leaves of the baby gem (leaving the smaller inner ones for salads) and very quickly sauté them in a pan of olive oil with a little salt and pepper - just enough to wilt them.
Serve hearty slices of the Wellington alongside the sautéed potatoes and wilted baby gems. A classic mustard vinaigrette makes a great dressing.
Frequent Response to the color of the beef:
The red in the meat is not blood. Blood runs through the veins of the animal, and is drained after slaughter.
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