I’m going to avoid the long story about why I haven’t posted in months and get right down to the food.
Beef wellington is the British version of a classic French dish, filet de bœuf en croûte. It is famously named after Arthur Wellesley, the very first Duke of Wellington during the early 19th century, however it is unclear whether the dish was created for him or simply named in his honor for his valor in both the military and political realms. Appellated for the victor against Napoleon and twice Prime Minister, this is the dinner of champions.
As far as the science goes, watch your cooking time. Due to the encrusted nature of the dish, carry over heat gets trapped inside the beef and continues to cook more than you might expect after removing from a heat source. My calculations were obviously off, and as a result, the beef was a little more done than I care for (generally, I like my steak mooing and this one was just barely over medium rare). I pulled mine out at an internal temperature of 122F, so if the above photo is the color of your preference, you know what temperature to set your alarm.
The drier the mushroom duxelles, the less soggy your puff pastry will become. Next time I would also let the meat marinade in the mustard or use a horseradish mustard so the flavor would be a bit brighter. I also strayed from the original recipe by adding arugula. I love the pop of color and the hint of bitter greens.
Here is a walk through of the recipe.
also, a little truffle salt here sounds like a grand idea
here i like to refrigerate the loaf again
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms, brushed clean
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- a pinch of truffle salt (optional but oh-so-good!)
- a few grinds black pepper
- 5-6 sprigs worth of fresh thyme leaves
- 1 lb center-cut beef tenderloin fillet (commonly called Chateaubriand)
- 2 tsp-(ish) kosher salt
- canola spray
- 2 tbsp mustard (horseradish mustard if you’re game, Dijon if you’re tame)
- 4 thin slices ham (Parma ham if you can get it) or prosciutto
- 1 small handful arugula or other green (spinach, kale, whatever you’d like)
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 2 egg yolks, beaten with 1 tbsp H2O
- Quarter the mushrooms, then pulse them in the food processor until chopped very finely or paste-like.
- Cook in a dry, non-stick pan until the paste darkens and becomes crumbly, indicating the mushrooms have released their moisture.
- Remove mushrooms from skillet and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
- Heat the butter in that same non-stick pan until it melts. Add onion an sweat until the onions are slightly translucent (5-10 minutes).
- Add garlic and cook until all of the foaming of the mixture has subsided and the garlic is cooked through (2-3 minutes).
- Combine onion mixture with mushroom matter. Mix in truffle salt (or regular salt), pepper, and thyme leaves. Set mixture (duxelles) aside.
- Sprinkle the kosher salt all over your beef tenderloin and heat your cast iron pan almost to smoking point (about 400F).
- Spray or oil evenly your cast iron and sear the beef on all sides. Once you set the beef down on one side, don’t mess with it. The proteins need to be in explicit contact with the pan in order to achieve a good Maillard reaction.
- Once seared on all sides, remove meat from heat and slather with mustard.
- Overlap two pieces of cling wrap to form a 12″x12″ square. Cover with proscuitto or Parma ham.
- Spread the mushroom duxelles evenly over the ham. Top with arugula and place the beef in the center.
- Wrap up tightly (ensuring that the plastic wrap is not wrapped inside any of the food–it ought to be on the outside…duh). Cover the log in more plastic wrap and refrigerate or 4 or so hours.
- Meanwhile, defrost your puff pastry and refrigerate it flat.
- Oven to 400°F.
- After 4 hours, remove plastic wrap from beef and place the beef log in the middle of the puff pastry.
- Outline the beef with egg wash and wrap up the meat log VERY tightly in the puff pastry.
- Decorate puff pastry wrapping at will. Brush with egg wash and chill the entire thing for 10 minutes.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until internal temperature hits 118F for a nice medium rare.
- Let rest for 10 whole minutes
- Slice and serve!