- 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) beef fillet
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 500g (17.6 oz) button mushrooms, finely chopped
- 4 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 100g (3.5 oz) pâté (chicken liver or foie gras)
- 500g (17.6 oz) puff pastry, thawed if frozen
- 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
1. Seasoning the Fillet:
Start by seasoning the beef fillet generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking.
2. Sear the Fillet:
Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F. In a large, oven-safe pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Sear the fillet on all sides until it turns a rich, golden-brown color. This will ensure your beef stays juicy and delicious as it cooks.
3. Making the Mushroom Duxelles:
In the same pan, add the finely chopped mushrooms and cook them until they release their moisture. As the mushrooms start to brown, add the shallots, garlic, and thyme leaves. Cook until the mushrooms are golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool.
4. Wrapping with Puff Pastry:
Once the mushroom mixture has cooled, spread the pâté evenly over the seared fillet. Then take the mushroom mixture and spread it over the pâté, creating a delightful layer of flavors.
Roll out the puff pastry dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s large enough to encase the fillet. Place the fillet in the center of the pastry and carefully wrap the pastry around the beef, ensuring it’s completely sealed.
Trim off excess pastry, leaving a small border. You can use the extra pastry for decorative leaves or patterns if you wish. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg, which will give it a beautiful golden color when baked.
5. Baking to Perfection:
Place the wrapped fillet on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes for medium-rare, or adjust the cooking time according to your desired level of doneness – remember that the beef will continue to cook as it rests.
Once the pastry turns golden and flaky, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. This rest will allow the beef to reabsorb its juices, resulting in a tender and juicy masterpiece.
Slice the Beef Wellington into thick, glorious portions and serve it with a luscious red wine reduction, roasted potatoes drizzled with truffle oil, and a simple green salad. The combination of the earthy mushroom duxelles, velvety pâté, and tender beef wrapped in buttery puff pastry is simply divine.
Tips and Variations:
- For a touch of luxury, consider using foie gras pâté instead of chicken liver pâté.
- To add an additional layer of flavor, try incorporating finely chopped fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme into the mushroom mixture.
- For a beautiful presentation, before wrapping the fillet, you can garnish the mushroom layer with some thinly sliced prosciutto or Parma ham.
- Vegetarians can adapt this recipe with a delicious twist by substituting the beef fillet with a large, firm Portobello mushroom and adjusting the cooking time accordingly.
Remember, Beef Wellington is not just a gastronomic delight; it’s a time capsule that allows us to savor the elegance of centuries-old culinary traditions. Prepare this masterpiece with care and imagination, and you and your guests will be transported to a realm of timeless culinary pleasure.