Beef Wellington is one of those over the top meals that very few people attempt at home, simply because time is often precious to many a home cook but also because many feel intimidated by the many steps. Let me assure you, my version is far less tedious and guaranteed to work regardless of your skill level. Furthermore, you can adapt the recipe easily to suit your mood and need – family meal or to impress guests at a dinner party.
It should be noted that although beef wellington is presumed to be named in honour of the Duke of Wellington who battled Napoleon at the ‘Battle of Waterloo’, it is a relatively recent invention dating from the 1920’s.
Makes 6 Serves
1 x 600 – 700 gram piece beef fillet or eye beef (girello)
20 grams butter
sprig of rosemary
2 garlic cloves (cut in half)
salt and pepper
1 brown onion (diced fine)
200 grams mushrooms (diced fine)
20 grams butter
salt and pepper
good splash of brandy, red wine or chicken stock
6 x silverbeet leaves (blanched)
6 x readymade puff pastry sheets
1 egg (lightly whisked)
12 x thin slices prosciutto or streaky bacon
120 grams quality chicken liver pate
1. Trim the beef of any sinew or major fat, then cut the beef into 6 thick slices of approximately 100 – 125 gram each. If you prefer, you can always have your butcher do this. Salt and pepper the beef well.
2. Place oil, butter, rosemary and garlic in a heavy based pan and heat to a high temperature. Then brown the beef first 1 side (2 minutes) and then the other (2 minutes) – this will produce a medium rare beef wellington. If you want your final beef more well done cook for 6 minutes total.
3. Remove beef from pan and set aside to cool.
4. Remove garlic and rosemary sprig from pan and add onion and extra butter. Allow to cook and soften for 2 minutes over medium heat and then add mushrooms. Turn heat to low and cook until onion and mushrooms are golden and soft.
5. increase heat, add salt and pepper and the brandy/wine/stock and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
6. Cut the stem off the silverbeet and after washing the leaves well plung into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Then remove pot from stove, decant the water and fill the pot with cold water to stop silverbeet from cooking.
Assembly of Beef Wellington
1. Remove puff pastry from freezer to de-thaw.
2. Gently remove silverbeet (one leaf at a time from the water and place on a clean, dry tea towel to de-water. The six leaves need to be separated rather than stacked upon each other.
3. Place a small spoonful of the onion/mushroom mixture in the centre of the leaf and then place 1 piece of beef on top.
4. Top the beef with another spoonful of mushroom mixture and then fold the silverbeet over the beef so it is encased in the leaf.
5. Place the encased parcel in the centre of a flat puff pastry sheet and fold each of the four corner towards the centre of the square, so the beef parcel is covered. It should resemble a envelope with the beef parcel inside. If necessary apply a dab of water wherever the puff pastry crosses itself.
6. Place parcel on a tray lined with baking paper and repeat steps 3 to 6 for remaining pieces of beef and then place into the fridge for 30 minutes.
7. When ready to cook beef wellington, pre-heat oven to 210° C. Remove tray/s from fridge and brush surface of each parcel with egg wash.
8. Place trays into the oven and bake for 30 minutes until golden and brown.
As the parcels bake I like to turn the trays around in the oven halfway through cooking process so they brown evenly.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Can be served with roasted or steamed vegetable and gravy or a side salad.
If you wish to make a more exotic version, use the prosciutto/streaky bacon and the pate. These ingredients are used in steps 3 to 6 above.
Place 2 rashes prosciutto/streaky bacon lengthways on the silverbeet leaf prior to adding the first spoonful of onion/mushroom mixture and,
a spoonful of pate goes on top of the first spoonful of onion/mushroom mixture when added to the assemblage and again on top of the beef prior to placing the second spoonful of onion/mushroom mixture to the assembled stack.