I mentioned these the other day and promised a post. So, voila! Backstory – a couple weeks ago was hubby’s birthday and he specifically requested this dish. For breakfast. Kidding. For dinner of course. That’s what I get for asking! I had neither eaten nor cooked this before so I knew I needed to do my homework to get it right.
Luckily, Chef Gordon Ramsey produced this snappy little 2 minute video on Beef Wellington that I found online! After a couple views, it didn’t seem all that hard. And honestly it wasn’t, but it does take longer to pull it off than it does watching Gordon Ramsey pull it off. And you have to provide your own peppy background music. I did some additional research (more youtube, thank you youtube you are wonderful for this sort of thing) and opted to go a more traditional duxelle (that’s the mushroom paste) route, reducing it down with white wine first and then cream. And is that stuff ever good! How had I never even heard of it before?! You could slather it on stale crackers and be in heaven.
This dish is fantastic for a number of reasons. 1) It’s a complete do-ahead, making for ideal dinner party fare. 2) You can feed a few or a crowd, either via the individuals or ‘wellington-ing’ a whole tenderloin roast. 3) Prosciutto. Duxelle. Filet Mignon. Puff Pastry. Right, that’s what I thought.
A couple tips:
1. You want the prosciutto sliced longer/thinner verses shorter/fatter, because ideally it gets wrapped all the way around each steak.
2. Use an oven-prove thermometer. By this I mean the kind with a wire so you can stick the probe end into the meat, close the oven door, and watch the temperature tick up. I don’t know how else you’d know when the meat is done because all ovens are different, so to say ‘bake for 20 minutes’ would produce different results in different ovens. The one I have sells for about $50 at William-Sonoma, which means it’s over-priced there and probably available for less elsewhere – not terribly expensive if you need to get yourself one.
3. Try to get two steaks that are exactly the same size. If this isn’t possible, put the probe thermometer into the smaller one and bake them. Remove from the oven when the small one is done (at about 125), as it will be done first. Put it aside to rest. Stick the thermometer into the larger one and continue to cook until 125. If you did the opposite the smaller one would get over-cooked. If you prefer your meat closer to medium than medium-rare, cook to 130. And letting them rest at least 10 minutes is crucial before slicing.
4. It’s important to remember the reason you want all that liquid cooked out of the duxelle and the steaks patted dry before wrapping is that you do not want any liquid seeping into the puff pastry. That would render the bottom crust soggy when baked instead of puffy and delicious.
If you haven’t already, watch the video clip. Then go get some filet, mushrooms, and prosciutto. Prepare and enjoy, both the meal and the profession of undying love from your damn lucky co-wellington-ee.
individual beef wellingtons
- 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry
- 2 (8oz) Filet Mignon steaks
- 1 lb mushrooms (preferably cremini)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tbs English mustard
- 6-8 slices prosciutto (enough to wrap around both steaks)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten (for egg wash)
1. Remove puff pastry from freezer to fridge and defrost in fridge overnight.
2. Sear steaks: Let steaks come to room temperature. Pat dry all over with paper towels. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a cast-iron pan or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbs oil and swirl to coat pan. Set steaks in pan and sear the bottom side 4 minutes. Flip and sear second/top side side 4 minutes. Sear two of the remaining side ‘sides’, 1-2 minutes per side, until browned all over. Do not continue cooking steaks through. Remove immediately from pan and set aside to cool.
3. Prepare duxelle: Coarsely chop mushrooms and put into the bowl of a food processor. Season with salt. Pulse 10-12 times until mushrooms are nicely minced but not completely pureed to a paste. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Do not add any oil or butter to skillet. When skillet is hot, add mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally, until they begin to release their liquid. Reduce heat and continue to cook until all the liquid is evaporated and the pan looks dry. Add 1/2 cup wine. Cook until liquid is reduced and pan again looks dry. Add the remaining 1/2 cup wine and again cook until liquid is reduced and pan is nearly dry. Add cream 1/2 cup at a time in the same manner, cooking down until pan is dry and only then adding the remaining cream. Scrape duxelle (mushroom mixture) into a bowl and set aside.
4. Pat seared steaks dry lightly (as not to remove seasonings) with paper towels. Brushed cooled steaks all over with mustard. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap. On the plastic, lay down half the prosciutto slices, overlapping them slightly. Smear half the duxelle over the prosciutto using a spatula. Place one steak in the center. Using the plastic wrap, roll the prosciutto up and around the steak, to fully enclose it. Twist the ends of the plastic to secure the wrapped bundle. Repeat with the remaining prosciutto, second steak and duxelle. Put wrapped steaks in fridge and chill, at least 20 minutes.
5. Remove pastry from fridge. On a clean work surface, roll out to a size that looks like it will fit the meat bundle. Remove plastic wrap from steaks and place one steak in the center of the pastry. Brush the egg wash (the beaten eggs) around the edges of the pastry. Using the egg wash as ‘glue’, wrap the bundle in the puff pastry, securing the sides and using more egg wash to do so as needed. Repeat with second steak. Place back in fridge to set again, at least 15 minutes or until you’re ready to bake.
6. Preheat oven to 400. Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place wellingtons on sheet pan, evenly spaced apart. Brush all over with more egg wash. Make 4 slits on the top of each wellington using a pairing knife, being careful not to cut all the way through the pastry. Using a probe oven thermometer, cook steaks until internal temperature in the center of one steak reaches 125. Remove from sheet pan and let rest, 10 minutes. Thickly slice and serve immediately.