Beef Wellington

Is one of my family favorites. It can be argued that it’s not worth the time and effort BUT I like to think it is for special occasions. It’s fun to make something out of the ordinary and this prosciutto-wrapped steak in a puff pastry is a crowd pleaser. This may look overwhelming and cumbersome but it’s easier than you think.

Some helpful hints before we get started:
– You can make ahead if you are planning on having a lot of guests over for the holidays.
– You can make one large beef wellington and serve a slice to each person (this is probably the easiest way to have a different internal temperature options available) – 2 birds 1 stone; different strokes for different folks kind of meal.

I usually do an individual serving (4-6oz steak per person) because I like the presentation however I’m sure you will get some “ooos and aaahhhs” no matter what you decide…

I’ve been making these for years but I finally snapped some pictures and wrote down some notes so I can share one of my most-asked-about recipes.

Beef Wellington

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: hard
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Ingredients

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  • 2 Filet Mignons (6oz each)
  • 1/2 Tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 2 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 egg

For the Duxelles Filling – just a fancy way of saying “mushroom filling” I added a few other ingredients to make it more delicious.  wV%0zTeXQiSJcrgfdHttSA

  • 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 stem of rosemary minced
  • 1 small onion diced (1 cup)
  • 5 white mushrooms (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup of red wine (use something you like to drink) (optional)

For the Red Wine Shallot Sauce (optional) fullsizeoutput_7891.jpeg

  • 1 shallot – thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of red wine (use something you like to drink -here I picked wine from out wedding venue)
  • 1 Tbsp demi-glace (optional)
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter

Directions

Prep the steak, sprinkle with salt and set it aside to let the salt dissolve. If you want to keep a round shape to your steak you can tie it with twine (or keep the twine on until they are seared if your steak comes tied already) This picture shows my steaks sans twine but I usually get it from the butcher already tied.

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Duxelles filling: You will want to have 1 cup of the mixture per steak before cooking.

The hardest part in this prep, if you ask me, is having the endurance to dice enough onion and mushrooms it seems like it takes me days. But trust me, it’s worth it, you  do not want to under prepare, onions and mushrooms have this annoying tendency to shrink when cooked and you want your guests to see it when they eat their wellington so they can be oh-so-impressed with your culinary skills….

Ok once the prep is done, the cooking of the filling is actually quick and painless:

In a pan melt 1/2 Tbsp butter and a splash of olive oil.
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Add in the onions, mushrooms, minced garlic, rosemary and salt.
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Sweat until just about soft (approx. 5 mins). Stirring it so it doesn’t have time to burn on the bottom of the pan, you will get some cooked on brown bits..that’s called flavor and the next step will help bring that back into the filling, don’t worry.

Deglaze with red wine. Deglaze is a fancy term for adding liquid to a pan to loosen up the brown bits described above. To do this you want to take the pan off the heat and slowly add in the wine because it will sizzle and steam as soon as you add it in to the hot pan. Place the pan back down on the heat and  scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen up any of the brown bits that have cooked onto the pan.  If you don’t want to cook with wine you, you can just remove the duxelles filling now onto a paper towel to drain.

Let the wine reduce until it’s gone (also know as Au Sec in French cooking technique), stir the mixture occasionally to prevent burning.
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Drain and rest on a paper towel – set aside.
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In the same pan, dab out excess grease.

Steaks: Pat steaks dry with a paper towel.

In the pan that you made the duxelles in, add in 1/2 Tbsp of butter.

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Over medium hot heat, quickly sear your steaks. The longer you sear your steaks the hotter the internal temperature will become, so if you want your steak served medium then sear about 45 seconds on each side. Add in a drizzle of olive oil if needed so that your steak doesn’t stick to you pan. Sear all sides even the edges.  The steak will have additional cooking time in the oven so do not cook to final serving temperature at this stage.

Note: you can adjust your searing time (more or less) depending on what your want your final internal temperature to be. The larger the steak the longer it will take for it to cook through.
Additional Note: If you are cooking a large steak to serve to a crowd the end pieces will be more well done and will get more rare as you move to the center of the steak.

Set steak aside (remove twine if you had it on to keep the shape of the steak) and get together the rest of the ingredients for the beef wellington: yellow mustard and a brush, prepared duxelles, prosciutto – at least one slice per 4-6oz steak (enough to wrap entire the steak in it, I’m sure you can’t have too much…) puff pastry and an egg.
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Cover the entire steak in yellow mustard. I know it seems weird but trust me do not skip this step. The acidity of the mustard really helps cut through all of the other fatty (soft) flavors and it makes this oh-so-much-better.
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Top the steak with the duxelles. You want to aim to have about 1/2-1 inch thick for a nice layer when you cut into the wellington.
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Wrap the steak and duxelles in prosciutto. To make this easier I usually lay the prosciutto overtop of the duxelles and then tuck the ends underneath of the steak.

If you want to put more than one slice I will always agree with your decision (I would have added another slice do go horizontal in this picture below to give the steak a good snug wrap in prosciutto but I casually snacked on the rest while cooking…pictures and recipe writing made me hungry).
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Roll out puff pastry to about 1/8 of an inch.
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I eyeball a large square for each steak and, using a pizza cutter, I cut out the square/rectangle shape.

Place the prosciutto-wrapped steak upside down to keep the duxelles on top. Think about wrapping a present and how you’re suppose to remove the price tag and flip it upside down so that the seams go underneath the box…it’s similar to that idea. P.S. I almost always forget to remove the price tag when I give a gift…luckily this dish doesn’t have one of those..but it might have twine – remember to remove the twine because once it’s wrapped in puff pastry there is no going back.
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Fold up all of the sides, sometimes cutting excess puff pastry off to make sure it is only one layer to make baking easier. Pinch the seam where all of the dough meets to keep it together.
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Place seam side down on parchment paper and brush on egg wash. (Egg wash is 1 egg with a splash of water (1/2 Tbsp or so), I like to keep it more egg-y for a browner color after baking)
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Carefully place the wellingtons on a clean parchment paper on a baking tray.

Rest. At this point you can put it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or a couple of hours until you’re ready to bake. This will allow everything to set up. If you’re running out of time this step can be skipped but it is highly recommended.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the wellingtons from the refrigerator. Re-brush with egg wash and cut slits into the dough, try not to pierce holes through the dough, if you do, it’s ok, but try not to.
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Bake 17-20 minutes. The puff pastry will dry out and start to color. This is for a medium internal temperature (155 degrees). DO NOT use a thermometer to test the internal temperature, or if you do try to go through the bottom so that the puff pastry doesn’t have a giant hole through the top…up to you and how comfortable you are about maybe being in the “medium internal temperature give or take a few degrees” Go with your gut.

If you have 4oz steaks – sear quicker and bake only for 13-15 minutes.
If you want your steaks to be rarer than medium, see instructions on searing. You can also reduce the bake time and use the broiler to create a brown crust.
If you want your steaks well done (165 degrees), see instructions on searing; it’s best to do that step longer on medium/low heat  rather than baking longer.
If you have 1 large steak to serve several people bake until the internal temperature is medium and you will have a medium middle with well done on the ends.

To complete the look – broil on high for 1-2 minutes to get a darker color on the puffy pastry.

Rest before serving. It should rest for 5-7 minutes.

While the steak is in the oven you can make take a breather and then start the pan sauce during this time.

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For the Red Wine Shallot Sauce (optional)
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  • 1 shallot – thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 Tbsp demi-glace (optional)
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter

In the pan you seared your steak add in the shallots with a pinch of salt. Sweat shallots until they are soft.
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Deglaze with red wine. Scrape up any brown bits with a wooden spoon to add flavor to the sauce.
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Reduce until it’s about 1/2 cup.
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Whisk in 1 Tbsp of demi-glace (optional; it will make the sauce fuller in flavor and thicker) – see below for what is demi glace.

Add in salt and a splash of red wine vinegar to taste.

Remove from heat and add in 1/2 Tbsp of butter. Taste and season.

Note: if you over-reduce the pan sauce (it gets too thick) you can easily add water to bring it back to the sauce consistency you want…I would start with 1 Tbsp at a time. This will not affect the your already perfected flavor/seasoning. If you add in more wine or stock your seasoning will not be the same.

Serve over beef wellington or any other steak :).
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What is demi-glace?: Demi-glace is something that is made from reducing veal stock. It’s used in culinary dishes to provide a fuller flavor and a thicker consistency to pan sauces. Because veal stock is not readily available in stores for household use, I found a jar of demi-glace at William Sonoma. It’s $30 but it’s good to have on hand for those special occasions. It’s a delicious extra ingredient that will set your pan sauces ahead of everyone else’s and it will have your guests asking “what is your secret?”

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