Classic Beef Wellington

I was asked to make the main course at a family gathering for 10.

What to cook? What to cook?

I decided it had to be a bit of a show stopper - but without insane effort - after all this was a gathering and I did not want to be isolated in the kitchen.

Beef Wellington is not a recipe to rush however and I would set aside a good 3-4 hours to do the dish justice.

The bulk of the effort is making the Duxelle filling. Once made, it is just the case of rolling up the fillet of beef and cooking it in the oven. Traditionally, Beef Wellington has crepes between the pastry and the meat. However, I find this makes the dish stodgy and instead prefer to use a layer of fresh spinach leaves.

Cooking for 10, I was privileged to be given a whole fillet of beef. I was planning on cooking the whole fillet as one - but realised quickly that it would not fit in the oven!

I have to say I was nervous that I would over cook the beef and ruin it. However, I should not have feared - my trusty meat thermometer came to the rescue and enabled me to get the meat perfect.

I strongly advise that you use a thermometer as you cannot touch the beef to determine if it is done.



for the Duxelle filling : [serves 10]
600 g of mushrooms, finely diced
200 g dried Porcini mushrooms
250 ml of boiling water
2 handfuls of fresh thyme
5 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp Madeira wine
salt and pepper to taste

for the Beef Wellington : [serves 10]
1 fillet of beef
1 ball of cooking string
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp olive oil
handful of thyme, leaves removed from the stems

4 packets of all butter puff pastry
2 packets of thinly sliced Proscuito
1 bag of Spinach, stems removed

2 eggs, beaten
pinch of chilli flakes
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard


for the Duxelle filling :
1) Steep the Porcini mushrooms in the boiling water. Set aside for 30 minutes to rehydrate.
2) Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms to a very fine dice. I had to do this in stages, as I had three packets of mushrooms to dice!
3) Once hydrated, drain the Porcinis, saving the liquor. Dice the Porcini to the same size as the fresh mushrooms.
4) Place a large heavy based frying pan on a medium heat.
5) Add the butter, oil, garlic, onion, thyme, diced mushrooms and Porcinis.
6) Saute the mushrooms, until they begin to soften.
7) Add half the reserved mushroom liquor, and continue to cook until the mixture is almost completely dry (This will take 10 - 15 minutes of slow cooking).
8) Raise the heat to high and add the Madeira.
9) Flambé off the alcohol, and continue to cook until the mixture is dry.
10) Taste the Duxelle, and adjust the seasoning to taste.
11) Place in a dish, cling film, and leave to cool in the fridge.

for the Beef Wellington :
1) Place a large frying pan on a high heat, and leave the pan to get as hot as possible.
2) Trim any fat from the fillet of beef. Tie up the tenderloins so that the fillet remains intact whilst searing.
3) Generously rub olive oil all over the fillet. Season well with salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
3) Once the frying pan is up to heat, add the oil.
4) When you see the oil shimmering, add the beef fillets, one at a time, and brown all over, including the ends.
5) Remove the beef fillet from the pan and set aside to cool completely. Once cool to the touch, remove the string - its job is done.
6) Place a large piece of cling film on a work surface.
7) Overlap pieces of Proscuito on top of the cling film, to make a rectangle large enough to envelop the fillet.
8) Using a spatula, add the Duxelle, making a thin even layer across the Proscuito.
9) Sprinkle the thyme leaves over the top of Duxelle.
10) Smear the cooled beef fillet generously with the Dijon Mustard. (I smeared the base first, then placed the fillet on top of the Duxelle before covering the top with mustard).
11) Using the cling film, roll the beef into a cylinder shape. Tuck in the ends, and add any Duxelle that may have escaped (see photos).
12) Using the cling film continue to roll and tighten the cylinder until it is firm and has a good round shape.
13) Place back in the fridge to firm up.
14) On a well floured work surface, place two pieces of puff pastry. Generously egg wash an inch of one sheet of puff pastry, and then affix the second piece on top. (You will not have to do this if you are cooking a small fillet).
15) Layer the puff pastry with spinach leaves.
16) Place the beef fillet on top of the spinach and pastry.
17) Generously egg wash all over the edges of the pastry.
18) Roll the Wellington towards you until sealed in the pasty, and trim off the excess.
19) Trim off excess pastry from the ends, leaving enough to fold under. Egg wash the ends and tuck under to make a neat parcel.
20) Place the Wellington back in the fridge to firm up, and remove when ready to cook.
21) Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6.
22) When ready to cook, generously egg wash the Wellingtons all over.
23) Make three slashes into the pastry to allow the steam to escape and keep the pastry crisp.
24) Sprinkle over the crushed chilli flakes, salt and pepper.
25) Place in the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes (it is hard to estimate the time, as it will depend on the size of the fillet).
26) Remove the Wellingtons, when the internal temperature shows 48 degrees C.
27) Allow to rest for 10 minutes, before serving. I served the Wellington;s with some boiled new potatoes and steamed seasonal vegetables.

Beef Wellington : Rehydrate the Porcini Mushrooms

Rehydrate the Porcini Mushrooms for 30 minutes

Beef Wellington : Chop the Mushrooms

Dice the mushrooms

Beef Wellington : Finely Diced Mushrooms

And keep on dicing the mushrooms

Beef Wellington : Keep on Chopping

Wow, and more dicing; if only I had a food processor in this borrowed kitchen

Beef Wellington : Dice the Onions

Phew, now dice the onion

Beef Wellington : Dice the Garlic

Prepare the garlic

Beef Wellington : Garlic Finely Diced

Finely dice the garlic

Beef Wellington : Add the butter

Get a good knob of butter

Beef Wellington : Fry the Duxelle

Fry the Duxelle

Beef Wellington : Dice the Porcini

Dice the rehydrated Poricinis

Beef Wellington : Add the Porcini

Add the Porcinis mushrooms to the mix

Beef Wellington : Add the Porcini Liquor

Add half the Porcini liquor

Beef Wellington : Reduce the Duxelle

Reduce the liquid to almost dry

Beef Wellington : Once dry add the Marsala

Once dry, add the Madeira and flambé

Beef Wellington : Fillet of Beef

Prepare the fillet of beef, removing any excess fat

Beef Wellington :  Lay out the Pancetta

Lay out the Proscuito on the cling film and level the cooled Duxelle

Beef Wellington : Chop the Thyme

Remove the Thyme from the stem

Beef Wellington : Sprinkle over the Thyme

Sprinkle over the thyme leaves

Beef Wellington : Tie the Fillets

Tie the fillets to hold the tenderloin together when searing

Beef Wellington : Rub in the olive oil

Rub all over with olive oil

Beef Wellington : Season well

Season the fillets all over

Beef Wellington : Sear in a hot pan

Sear in a hot pan

Beef Wellington : Brown All Over

Brown all over

Beef Wellington : Set Aside to cool

Set the fillets aside to cool

Beef Wellington : Place the Fillet on the Duxelle

Place the fillet on Duxelle

Beef Wellington : Rub the top with Dijon Mustard

Rub the top of the fillet with Dijon mustard

Beef Wellington : Wrap the Proscuito Around the Fillet

Wrap the Proscuito around the fillet

Beef Wellington : Tuck in the ends

Tuck in the ends

Beef Wellington : Pat in the ends

Pat the extra Duxelle into the ends

Beef Wellington : Roll the Fillet

Roll the fillet

Beef Wellington : Use the Clingfilm to get a round shape

Use the cling film to roll the fillet

Beef Wellington : Roll to make a tight cylinder

Make a tight cylinder

Beef Wellington : Beef Wellington Cracker

Twist tightly to make a Beef Wellington cracker!

Beef Wellington : Set Aside to cool in the Fridge

Set aside to cool

Beef Wellington : Roll out the Puff Pastry

Roll out the puff pastry. You may need to join two pieces if cooking a large fillet

Beef Wellington : Cover with Fresh Spinach

Cover with destemmed spinach

Beef Wellington : Unwrap the Wellington

Unwrap the cooled wellington

Beef Wellington : Place on the Pastry

Place on the pastry

Beef Wellington : Wrap Tightly

Roll the puff pastry over the fillet tightly

Beef Wellington : Tuck Under the Ends

Tuck under the ends

Beef Wellington : Beef Wellington Ready

Beef Wellingtons ready for the oven

Beef Wellington : Pierce the Pastry

Slash the tops to allow the steam to escape

Beef Wellington : Wellingtons Decorated

Decorate the Wellingtons if you wish

Beef Wellington : Egg Wash and Sprinkle Over with Chilli Flakes and Seasoning

Egg wash liberally and sprinkle over the salt and pepper and chilli flakes

Beef Wellington : Ready for the Oven

Ready for the oven

Beef Wellington : Straight from the Oven - Check the internal temperature

Beef Wellingtons straight from the oven. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer

Beef Wellington : Served on the plate

Serve a generous slice

Beef Wellington : Close Up

Close Up

Beef Wellington : Another Shot

Another shot, served with steamed vegetables

Beef Wellington : Last shot

Last shot

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