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Beef Wellington Recipe
A dish made from a whole beef fillet baked in pastry.
The meat is often pre-rubbed with brandy, then smothered in pate or wrapped in bacon and flat mushrooms, before the pastry is applied. Then served cut into thick slices, with Bordelaise Sauce (q.v) or Béarnaise Sauce (q.v.).
In Britain, the dish was named/renamed after the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852). It’s called Boeuf en Croûte in France.
It became a popular dinner party dish in the 1970’s, as all the hard work is done ahead of time and is having somewhat of a revival. Here we give the bacon and mushroom version, but the procedure is similar if using paté – the meat is encased in a layer of liver paté which can be made or bought, you will need about 10-12 ozs/300-360gr.
1 whole Beef Fillet weighing about 4 lbs/1.8 kilos
16 big Flat Mushrooms – nowadays often sold as Portobello’s.
2 oz/60gr Butter
14 rashers of Unsmoked Streaky Bacon
1½ lbs/750gr Puff Pastry – if not making, try to find the Jus Rol version, which includes butter
A little Brandy, to rub over the meat (optional)
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly-ground Black Pepper
1.Trim any wafer-thin sinews from the fillet, the fold the thin 'tail end' under the centre section, so you have a piece of meat that's visually the same thickness. Cut the stalks off the mushrooms, flush with their base - set these aside, if making Bordelaise Sauce, if not discard.
2.In a large frying pan heat some of the butter of a low heat, then fry the mushrooms on both sides, a few at a time, adding more butter as necessary, until they are all done. Set these aside.
3.Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly-floured surface, so it's wide enough to wrap right round the fillet with an overlap - and long enough to have a 2 ins/5cm overlap at each end.
4.Sprinkle the meat all over with freshly-ground black pepper, the wipe it with a little brandy (if using). Put the beef fillet in the centre of the pastry.
5.Cover the fillet with the bacon rashers, so the bacon also covers the sides.
6.Cover the bacon with the mushrooms.
7.Brush all the pastry edges with some of the beaten egg, and fold the pastry over to seal the meat in as neatly as possible.
8.Any left over pastry pieces can be made into pastry decorations - such as diamonds or leaf shapes These can be fixed with a little more egg wash - but unless you're presenting the dish as a display item, this is unnecessary.
9.Place the meat on a lightly-floured baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes - or all day, if you're going to work (if waiting a considerable time, put the egg wash in the fridge).
10.Ten minutes before cooking, heat the oven to 450F/230C/Gas 8, remove the beef from the fridge and paint it with the remaining egg wash.
11.Bake the meat in the oven for 45 minutes, if you like your meat to be medium, an hour - if you like it more done.
12.If you have a thermometer probe - it will show 140F for rare, 160F for medium and 170F for well done, when inserted into the middle of the joint.
Rest for 10 minutes at room temperature, to allow the meat juices to settle, before you cut the meat into thick slices.
Serve with Bordelaise or Bearnaise Sauce.