icon Filet de Boeuf en Croute (Beef Wellington)

Beef Wellington is a filet mignon of beef, coated with pâté (i.e. foie gras) and duxelles (mixture of mushrooms or mushroom stems, onions, shallots and herbs, sauted in butter), wrapped in puff pastry and baked. Beef Wellington makes a superb main course for a Christmas Eve dinner, but keep in mind that this is no simple last-minute dish. It takes a whole day to make!

Beef Wellington

  • 1 beef tenderloin (about 3 to 4 pounds), trimmed and chain removed
  • 5 tbsp extgra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 4 cups assorted exotic mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 ld Foie Gras, sliced into 1-ounce slices
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mushrooms, sauteed in butter
  • 1 cup port wine syrup
  • 2 pieces of frozen puff pastry (or see recipe below

Puff Pastry

  • 1 lb all-purpose flour
  • 1/5 oz instant dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 oz salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup water, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 medium egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 oz unsalted butter for the dough
  • 7 oz unsalted butter for laminating (yes, 7 oz, do not whine)

Puff Pastry

  1. In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar and salt, then add the yeast and mix well. Add the milk, water and egg to the flour mixture.
  2. Mix in a dough mixer with the dough-hook attachment at speed 1 until all ingredients combine into a ball. Knead the dough at speed 2 for 3-5 minutes until smooth. Obviously, if you do not have a dough mixer, pepare for a fair amount of elbow grease!
  3. Add 3/4 oz butter and continue to knead for another 3-5 minutes until the dough is soft and supple but not sticky.
  4. The internal dough temperature should register about 25 deg C on an instant-read thermometer. Cover with cling film and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size.
  5. While the dough is rising, prepare the butter for laminating (7 oz). Place the butter between 2 sheets of plastic film. With a rolling pin, lightly pound and roll out the butter into a thin rectangular shape of about 6 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. Put the butter in the refrigerator and leave to chill.
  6. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently press to release most of the air. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with cling film and leave to rest for about 20 minutes.
  7. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape of about 8 x 16 in. Place the chilled butter in the middle of the dough rectangle. Fold both sides of the dough over the butter and press the edges to seal. The butter should be fully enclosed by the dough.
  8. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll out into a rectangular shape of about 8 x 16 in. Fold both sides of the dough toward the center and press the edges to seal. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll out into a rectangular shape of about 8 x 16 in. Repeat these 2 steps. 2-3 times
  9. Place the dough between 2 sheets of plastic film and put in the refrigerator to chill for about 1 hour.
  10. Repeat the 3 previous steps 3 times to create a laminated dough of alternating layers of dough and butter.
  11. When the dough is baked, the layers of dough separate and form the typical light and flaky texture of croissants.
  12. Obviously, much time can be saved by buying frozen leaf pastry, but this is much more fun.

Beef Wellington

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
  2. Season the tenderloin with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, sear the tenderloin for 2 to 3 minutes on all sides. Remove from the pan and cool.
  3. In a saute pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Finely chop the mushrooms. Add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shallots and saute for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add the red wine and bring the liquid up to a simmer. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until most of the liquid as dissipated and the mixture is dry. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Reseason the duxelle if necessary and cool completely.
  4. Season the Foie Gras slices with salt and pepper. In a hot saute pan, sear the Foie Gras for 30 seconds on each side. Remove the Foie Gras from the pan and drain on a paper-lined plate. Place Foie Gras on a clean plate and add the port wine syrup. Set aside.
  5. To assemble; place the two sheets of puff pastry together, vertically, sealing the ends and forming one big piece of pastry. Lay the seared tenderloin in the center of the puff pastry. Smear the duxelle over the top of the tenderloin. Lay the seared Foie Gras directly on top of the duxelle. Wrap the tenderloin in the puff pastry, tucking the sides in completely. Brush the entire tenderloin with the egg wash and place on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake the tenderloin for about 30 to 35 minutes for medium rare, or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove the tenderloin from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve the Wellington with a drizzle of the port wine sauce and sprinkle with sauteed mushrooms.
  7. YIELD: serves 8.

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Last updated: October 12, 2010