Beef wellington is a gourmet meal for any special occasion. Tender and juicy filet mignon steaks are seared then wrapped in puff pastry, and baked until golden brown. Each individual portion is served with a delicious red wine mushroom pan sauce.
Beef wellington is the perfect fancy meal if you’re looking to impress someone special. Everything about this dish screams indulgence. The recipe consists of tender juicy pan-seared filet mignon topped with a savory mushroom duxelles, wrapped in prosciutto, and covered in a blanket of golden brown puff pastry.
There’s an abundance of flavor going on, and the taste is worth the effort. The recipe is easy to make despite the drama that Gordon Ramsey gives contestants on the Hell’s Kitchen TV show. Just take your time and follow the directions and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing gourmet meal.
What’s the best cut of beef to use?
Purchase at least a choice or prime grade beef tenderloin (or filet mignon) at the market. The cut should be well-marbled, with all of the tough and chewy silverskin removed. Make sure it’s at least 1 ½ to 2-inches thick to prevent overcooking when baked.
A longer cut of beef tenderloin or filet can also be used to make a roast large enough to feed a crowd, instead of individual portions, and wrapped in the puff pastry.
Searing the meat
I recommend using a stainless steel pan when searing because it creates the best golden crust. Make sure that the pan is very hot, then add the oil, followed by the beef. Preheating the pan creates a nonstick surface and not moving the meat once placed inside allows for even searing of the surface.
This process only takes a few minutes. The goal is not to completely cook the steak as it should still be very rare before it goes into the oven. After searing the steaks, brush with Dijon mustard for a bit of tanginess.
The mushroom filling
Mushrooms add a delicious umami flavor and it’s also the classic topping for this dish. For the inside filling, use a food processor to chop the mushrooms into small pieces. Hand chopping works well too, it just takes a little longer.
Saute the mushroom filling until tender and until most of the moisture evaporates so it doesn’t make the pastry soggy as it bakes. Chill the filling so it doesn’t continue to cook the beef when wrapped. The filling is spread on top of the prosciutto then the beef is tightly wrapped into a petite ham package.
Wrapping the beef in puff pastry
There is no need to make puff pastry from scratch, I use Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets. The last step is to gently roll out your defrosted puff pastry and wrap the steaks snuggly into the dough. You don’t want too much excess pastry because it will be too thick and doughy when you bite into it.
The target temperature for the beef
Beef wellington should bake in the oven until it reaches between 120 to 125ºF (49 to 52ºC) for medium-rare, or 130 to 135ºF (54 to 57ºC) for medium (or desired doneness).
This gives the steak time for carryover cooking which elevates about 5 more degrees as it rests for at least 10 minutes before serving. It’s best to use an instant-read thermometer pierced into the thickest part of the beef to test.
Serve with a flavorful mushroom sauce
After searing beef, there should be plenty of delicious drippings and browned bits left in the pan. Don’t let it go to waste! You can make a sauce by first deglazing the skillet with some red wine to dissolve those stuck on pieces. Then make a roux to slightly thicken the beef stock. Add shallots and sliced mushrooms and simmer.
Working with frozen puff pastry
To thaw puff pastry, separate the sheets, but do not unfold. Transfer to a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature away from a hot oven or sunny window for about 30 to 40 minutes. It can also be thawed in the refrigerator for about 4 hours following the same method above.
It’s best to work with the puff pastry when it’s cold and easy to manipulate. Make sure to cover and refrigerate the dough if it gets beyond 40 minutes. This will prevent the dough from drying out and making it hard to roll, and stops the layers from melt together.
What I serve this with
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Can beef wellington be prepared in advance?
Yes! Several steps can be prepared in advance up to actually baking the puff pastry wrapped steak in the oven. The mushroom filling, searing of the steak, wrapping in the ham/pastry can be completed and refrigerated for up to 2 days in advance. On the day of serving, just score and brush the pastry with egg wash right before baking.
Individual Beef Wellington with Mushroom Sauce
- 16 ounces (454 g) beef tenderloin steaks, filet mignon (two 8-oz pieces) 1 ½ to 2-inches thick
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) dijon mustard
- 3 ounces prosciutto, 6 to 8 slices
- 1 frozen puff pastry sheet, Pepperidge Farm recommended
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) milk
- kosher salt, as needed for seasoning
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- 8 ounces (227 g) brown mushrooms, rinsed and dried
- 1 teaspoon (15 ml) olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (15 ml) olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine
- ¼ cup shallots, diced
- 1 tablespoon (30 g) all-purpose flour, ¼-inch dice
- 1 ½ cups (260 ml) beef stock, divided
- 4 ounces (113 g) brown mushrooms, ¼-inch thick slices
- kosher salt, as needed for seasoning
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- Defrost 1 sheet of puff pastry at room temperature on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper for 40 minutes, or until pliable yet cooled. Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap if defrosted and not using immediately.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204ºC). Begin making the mushroom filling.
- Add mushrooms to a food processor, or chop as finely as possible. The texture should be similar to coarse breadcrumbs, you do not want them to become a slurry.
- Heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat, add olive oil.
- Add mushrooms, sauté until mixture is softened and most of the moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Season mushroom mixture with ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper.
- Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and refrigerate until completely cooled.
Preparing the Beef
- Trim any excess fat or silver skin from the meat. The steaks can be reformed into rounds by tying them together with butcher's twine so that it holds the shape as it cooks in the pan.
- Pat dry the steaks with paper towel and season each side generously with salt and black pepper.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, once hot, add two tablespoons of olive oil. The pan should be really hot before adding the steaks.
- When the oil begins to smoke, add the filets to the pan and brown for 2 minutes on each side. Quickly sear the raw edges of the meat so the red turns to brown on the surface. Remove the steaks from the pan and place on a plate to cool. Turn off the heat and save the pan with the drippings for the mushrooms sauce.
- Cut off the butcher's twine if using. Brush Dijon mustard all over each filet while still warm. Set aside.
Rolling the Beef Wellingtons
- On a cutting board, place a large piece of plastic wrap. Lay down 4 slices of prosciutto, slightly overlapping each piece about ¼ inch to create a row. Spread half of the mushroom filling over the prosciutto, leaving about a ½ inch border along the sides. The layered prosciutto slices should resemble the shape of a rectangle.
- Place the seared filet in the center of the prosciutto and mushroom layer (if the beef is more rectangular in shape then lay so that the longer end lines up with the longer sides of the prosciutto layer). Use the plastic wrap to draw the prosciutto around the fillet, covering all sides. Roll up and twist the ends of the film to tighten. Chill and repeat the process with the remaining filet.
- Roll the defrosted pastry sheet into an 11-inch by 11-inch square. Lightly dust the surface with flour if it sticks to the rolling pin. Cut pastry in half (two 5.5-inch by 11-inch rectangles).
- Place the prosciutto-wrapped beef fillets in the center of each pastry sheet. Line up the long side of meat with the longer sides of the pastry. Lightly brush the pastry edges with water.
- Starting at the longer sides, bring opposite corners of the pastry over, gently stretching the dough if needed. Press seams to seal tightly. Fold the shorter sides up to enclose the other portions. If they will not reach the center, just make sure to press the sides to seal the pastry. Repeat wrapping with the remaining filet.
- Use a piece of plastic wrap to tightly seal each pastry-wrapped beef filet and refrigerate for about 5 minutes to allow the pastry to firm up again.
- In a small bowl, mix egg yolk and milk.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Remove wellingtons from the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, and lay the filets seam-side down on the baking sheet. Brush the top and sides of each puff pastry with the egg wash. If desired, use the back of the knife or pizza cutter to create long diagonal lines on the surface, make sure not to cut into the meat. Sprinkle kosher salt on top of each.
- Bake in the upper-middle portion of the oven for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the steak reaches 125°F (52ºC) for medium-rare. The pastry should be golden brown on the surface.
- Remove the beef wellingtons from the oven and allow to rest on the sheet pan for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Make the sauce while the meat is resting.
- Using the pan with the steak drippings, heat over medium heat. If you did not save the pan, use a new pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil added.
- Add red wine to the pan and whisk to deglaze and remove the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add chopped shallots, stirring until the wine has reduced until you cannot smell the alcohol, reduced to about half, about 1 minute.
- Add 1 tablespoon flour and whisk for 1 minute. Slowly add the beef stock by whisking in about a ¼ cup at a time, until 1 cup has been added and the sauce has thinned to a spoonable consistency.
- Add sliced mushrooms to the sauce and simmer until cooked and tender. The sauce will continue to reduce and thicken. If needed, whisk in additional beef stock to thin the sauce.
- Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm on low heat until ready to serve.
- Once beef wellingtons have rested for 10 minutes, slice into medallions or serve whole with the mushroom sauce on the side.