I have never been inclined to even order Beef Wellington, let alone cook it. However, the challenge on Masterchef All Stars the other night, made it look pretty good. Really good, actually. So I decided to give it a go. How hard could beef in pastry be? Well, a little difficult actually, but the result was well worth it. YUM-O.
This takes about 2.5 hours. I have taken the recipe from the Masterchef website here, and altered it to be a bit clearer:
- 500g Beef Eye Fillet
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 500g small beef bones
- 2 eschallots, thinly sliced
- 6 black peppercorns
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 clove garlic, bruised
- 1 bay leaf
- 80ml port
- 200ml red wine
- 500ml veal stock
- 80ml veal glace (found at Thomas Dux)
- 40g butter, chopped
- 2 cups (300g) plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 625ml (2½ cups) full cream milk
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
- 50g butter, chopped
- 40g dried porcini mushrooms
- 40ml olive oil
- 30g butter, chopped
- 2 eschcallots, finely chopped
- 200g Swiss brown mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 4-5 slices prosciutto
- 1 large sheet puff pastry, approximately 40x40cm (or a block of puff pastry rolled to same)
- 1-2 egg yolks
- Preheat the oven to 200°C fan forced.
- Sear the the beef fillet: Rub the fillet with oil and season with salt and pepper. Then sear in a very hot pan till caramelized on all sides. Set aside to cool
- Start the sauce: place a heavy baking pan on the hob and fry the bones and oil till the bones are coloured on all sides. Then pop into the oven for 20mins until browned. Remove from pan and put in large saucepan until needed.
- For Crepes: Sift flour into a bowl, add a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre of the flour, while whisking slowly pour in eggs and 2/3 of the milk. Whisk vigorously from the centre, incorporating the flour to form a smooth thick batter. Whisk in the remaining milk and melted butter to form a loose smooth batter the consistency of thick cream. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Stir in herbs. Add extra milk if required to thin the batter.
- Using a large pan of 25cm base, make the crepes as thinly as possible. Turn them as soon as they are golden brown but not crispy (otherwise they won’t roll nicely). They only need about 30-45 secs on the other side. Use all the batter to make the crepes but you will only need 4 for the recipe (eat the others as snacks – they are yummy!)
- For Mushroom Filling: Place dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and add just enough boiling water to cover, stand for 15 minutes and drain. Rinse under running water to remove grit and press to squeeze out any excess fluid. Heat oil and butter in a large frying pan over high heat. Add eschallots, Swiss brown mushrooms and garlic, cook until soft and golden. Stir in re-hydrated porcini mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Tip the mushroom mixture into a sieve to drain any excess liquid and spread out over an oven tray to cool to room temperature. Roughly chop mushroom mixture to 0.5mm-1cm dice and stir through parsley, tarragon and mustard.
- Place a tray in the oven to preheat.
- To Assemble: Brush the beef fillet with Dijon mustard to cover. Lay a piece of cling wrap on the bench in front of you. Lay the prosciutto slices vertically away from you and slightly overlapping on the cling wrap. Check if this will provide enough cover for your beef fillet (you may have to put a second row of prosciutto in, but trim so it doesn’t overlap too much on the beef). Now spread an even layer of mushroom mixture over the ham slices, place beef fillet on one end horizontally and roll up to encase the beef tightly. Twist the ends of the cling wrap so you have a tight beef sausage and put in the freezer for 10mins.
- Lay crepes on a large piece of cling wrap, slightly overlapping to create a square on bench top. Remove cling wrap from beef and place the beef roll in the centre of the crepes and cut away the corners of the crepes to create a cross shape/plus sign allowing 1cm gap between the beef and the cut corner. Roll to encase tightly and wrap tightly in cling film. Rest in the freezer for 10 minutes, making sure it is cool and firm making it easier to handle.
- Remove cling wrap from beef, place beef in the centre of the pastry sheet seam-side up. Cut four corners out of the pastry (reserving the cut outs) so the pastry resembles a cross shape, ensuring it is long enough on all sides to enclose the fillet completely. Carefully lift side flaps of pastry up over the beef roll so they just overlap, trimming as necessary. Mix the egg yolks and salt together and brush over pastry to seal edges.
- Trim the pastry piece closest to you to just cover half the base of the roll and roll firmly to encase. Trim the pastry edge so they just overlap, press and seal with egg wash (I found water was enough). Place seam-side down on a sheet of baking paper on a non-stick roasting tray and ensure all edges are completely sealed.
- With un-used pastry, cut three 4cm discs and place in a line down the centre of the beef roll. Cut a 1cm hole in the centre of each pastry disc to allow excess moisture to escape. Brush top and sides of pastry evenly with egg wash removing excess with the pastry brush and place in freezer for 10 minutes to chill the pastry.
- Place chilled beef wellington on a sheet of baking paper seam side down. Transfer to the preheated tray and bake for 30-35 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the fillet inside. It should be around 46°C. Allow to rest for 20-25 minutes before carving.
- Completing the Sauce: Place the saucepan of bones over a medium heat, add sliced shallots, peppercorns, thyme, garlic, bay leaf and season with salt. Cook, stirring until shallots are golden. Add the port and red wine and reduce by two thirds. Add the veal stock and veal glace. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum or impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes (needed more than 20 mins) or until reduced to a sauce consistency, season to taste. Strain sauce through a muslin-lined sieve into a clean saucepan to remove any sediment. The sauce should be viscous enough to sit on the plate without being too runny but not too thick to be sticky, you may need to reduce it further after straining. Then slowly whisk in enough small cubes of butter to add shine.
- To serve, carve beef wellington into thick slices and serve with the sauce on the side.
Note: Make sure you roll the beef up in its coverings as tightly as possible, otherwise you are going to end up with floppy ends and your first carving will be just pastry and crepe. I think putting it in the freezer after each layer in its cling wrap will help with this.
It’s a lot of work, but wow does it taste good!