Beef wellington is a gourmet meal for any special occasion. Tender and juicy filet mignon steaks wrapped in puff pastry and baked until golden brown. Each individual portion is served with a delicious red wine mushroom pan sauce.
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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 relatively 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 a fantastic dinner.
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 harsh and chewy silverskin removed. Make sure it’s at least 1 ½ to 2-inches thick to prevent overcooking when baked. You can also use a more extended cut of meat to make a roast large enough to feed a crowd, instead of individual portions.
Searing the meat
I recommend using a stainless steel pan when cooking 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 develops 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 to create surface flavors, not to cook the steak completely. The doneness should still be rare before it goes into the oven. After searing, 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 mushrooms until tender and until most of the moisture evaporates. This step prevents the pastry from becoming soggy as it bakes. Chill the filling, so it doesn’t continue to cook the beef when wrapped. Spread the filling on top of the prosciutto, then tightly wrap the meat into a little package.
Wrapping the beef in puff pastry
There’s no need to make puff pastry from scratch. I use Pepperidge Farm sheets. Gently roll it out once defrosted and wrap the steaks snuggly into the dough. You don’t want too much excess; otherwise, 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 your desired doneness. Target around 120 to 125ºF (49 to 52ºC) for medium-rare or 130 to 135ºF (54 to 57ºC) for medium. These ranges give the steak time for carryover cooking, which elevates about five more degrees as it rests for 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 the meat, there should be plenty of delicious drippings and browned bits left in the pan. Don’t let those go to waste! You can make a sauce by first deglazing the skillet with some red wine to dissolve those stuck-on pieces. I like a hearty cabernet sauvignon, or merlot works well too. Then make a roux to 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. You can also thaw it 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 technique will prevent it from drying out, making it hard to roll, and stopping the layers from melting together.
What to serve this with
Can beef wellington be prepared in advance?
Yes! You can prepare several steps in advance up to baking the 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.
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Individual Beef Wellington with Mushroom Sauce
- 1 frozen puff pastry sheet, Pepperidge Farm recommended
- 8 ounces brown mushrooms, rinsed and dried
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 16 ounces beef tenderloin steaks, filet mignon (two 8-oz pieces) 1 ½ to 2-inches thick
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 3 ounces prosciutto, 6 to 8 slices
- water, as needed for brushing the pastry
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon milk
- kosher salt, as needed for seasoning
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine
- ¼ cup diced shallots, ¼-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups beef stock, divided
- 4 ounces 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. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and tightly cover it with plastic wrap until pliable yet cool, 30 to 40 minutes. Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap if defrosted and not using immediately.
- Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204ºC). Begin making the mushroom filling.
- Add mushrooms to a food processor and pulse until the texture is similar to coarse breadcrumbs. It should not become a paste. Alternatively, chop with a chef’s knife as finely as possible.
- Heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Add chopped mushrooms, then sauté until the mixture is soft and most of the moisture evaporates, 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.
Prepare the Beef
- Trim any excess fat or silverskin from the meat. The steaks can be reformed into rounds by tying them together with butcher's twine to hold the shape as it cooks in the pan.
- Pat dry the steaks with a 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 just begins to smoke, add the filets to the pan, press them down, 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 clean 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.
Wrap the Beef
- On a cutting board, place a large piece of plastic wrap. Lay down 3 to 4 slices of prosciutto, enough to completely cover the beef. Slightly overlap 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, lay it so 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. Repeat the process with the remaining filet. Refrigerate the fillets for 5 minutes.
- 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 the pastry in half into two 5 ½-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 long side 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 do not reach the center, just 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, whisk together the 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 a knife or pizza cutter to create long diagonal, cross-hatched lines on the surface. Make sure not to cut through the dough. Sprinkle the top of each pastry with kosher salt.
- Bake until the pastry is golden brown, and the internal temperature reaches 125°F (52ºC) for medium-rare or 130 to 135ºF (54 to 57ºC) for medium. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes. 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 and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add red wine to the pan. Whisk to deglaze and dissolve the brown bits.
- Add chopped shallots, stirring until the wine has reduced by half and you can no longer smell the alcohol, about 1 to 2 minutes. 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 is added. Simmer the sauce until it has slightly thickened to a spoonable consistency, about 2 minutes.
- Add sliced mushrooms to the sauce and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. The sauce will continue to reduce and thicken during this time. 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.
- Slice the beef wellingtons into medallions or serve whole with the mushroom sauce on the side.
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