I know that food is the way into a man’s heart, so for our first wedding anniversary I wanted to cook my husband a dinner that would knock is freaking socks off. I scoured my Julia Child’s cookbook along with the Food Network looking for something next-level that would test my foodie skills and also really impress. I came across a Tyler Florence recipe for Beef Wellington online that looked like the type of dish I was wanting to tackle.
If you are not familiar with Beef Wellington, the dish is basically a beef roast wrapped in a mixture of mushrooms and shallots, held together by a layer of prosciutto and puff pastry. What makes this dish so tricky is two things. First, once you start, the ball is in motion and you have to keep going. It’s not like a turkey that you can leave in the brine a little longer, since this is a temperature sensitive dish. This leads me to the second reason… that it is very temp sensitive. You are basically in a battle between wanting a nice browned puff pastry, without having an overcooked roast. If you do not get your timing and roast size right, you can end up with a severely overcooked piece of meat… which would be terribly tragic. BUT, if done right, this dish is incredibly delicious and impressive, and to me is something I would expect to find on a New Year’s Eve dinner menu at an expensive steakhouse 🙂
I will post the recipe for the Beef Wellington roast itself, and also for the gravy I made with it. This year for our Christmas dinner we paired it with Lobster mashed potatoes, some pan seared garlic broccolini, and a 2006 Chateau Montelena Cab Sav (which by the way was MIND BLOWINGLY GOOD) and we were in absolute foodie, red-meat heaven.
My last tip would be, that this can be an incredibly expensive dish to make if you do not shop around. The first time I made this I went to our boutique local grocery store and ended up paying $39.95… PER POUND for this meat. When they rang me up for $160 for the beef and two mediocre bottles of wine I nearly crapped myself! The second time around my husband was the smart one and called around asking for pricing. He found a local butcher who is SUPER LEGIT with incredibly fresh meats, but isn’t operating with the insane overheads or pretentiousness of these Whole-Foods style markets. If you are local to Seattle, I would suggest Double DD Meats in Mountlake Terrace… we got the same cut of meat from them this year for $38 TOTAL. We will be shopping there permanently for sure.
Part 1: The Duxelles (A French word I can’t pronounce, but it basically means your mushroom paste to wrap the roast in)
- 3 pints mushrooms – you can use all white button mushrooms, or alternate up to 3 of your favorite mushroom types for a bolder flavor
- 2 shallots (chopped)
- 4 cloves of garlic (pressed)
- fresh thyme, leaves from 2 sprigs
- 2T unsalted butter
- 2T extra virgin olive oil
- salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
Part 2: The Beef
- 1 three-pound, center-cut beef tenderloin (fillet mignon)
- EVOO (Rachel Ray-ism for Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 12-15 thin slices of prosciutto
- fresh thyme, leaves from 6 sprigs
- 2T Dijon Mustard
- 1 lb puff pastry, thawed 1 hour before baking
- 2 lg eggs beaten
- 1/2t coarse sea salt
- butcher’s twine
- meat thermometer
Part 3: The Gravy
- 2T EVOO
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled/smashed
- 1C cognac or brandy
- fresh thyme, leaves from 3 sprigs
- 1 box beef stock
- 2C heavy cream
- 2T dijion mustard
- 1/2t ground pepper
Toss your mushrooms, shallots, garlic and thyme into a food processor and chop well. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt your butter and add EVOO, then add your mushroom mixture. Cook for approx. 10 minutes, until mixture is paste-like and excess moisture has evaporated. Set aside and let cool on the stovetop.
Take your butcher’s twine and tie your roast in four equally-spaced places, to help hold a cylindrical shape. Drizzle with oil, and rub down with salt and pepper. Place in a large frying pan and put a sear on all sides, cooking no more than about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat once the outside has been browned. Cut off the twine and give that baby a good rub down with your mustard.
Set out a long sheet of plastic wrap, then lay your prosciutto out in a rectangular shape, overlapping to eliminate gaps. Spread your ‘shroom paste all over that sucker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and your thyme leaves. Lay your roast in the middle of this sheet of goodness, and use your plastic wrap to help roll the roast up entirely in the mushroom/prosciutto. If there is excess on the ends, just tuck it in and wrap the whole thing tightly in your plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes. This helps the roast keep form and prevents over-cooking.
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Get your egg wash, puff pastry, and a pastry brush ready.
On a lightly floured surface, spread out the defrosted puff pastry. Make sure it is stretched enough to fully encompass your whole roast. If there are two pieces, seal them together by pinching at the seam with after brushing on egg wash. Roll the whole roast up in the pastry, again sealing any seam with egg wash. If there is any excess at the ends, you can cut it off and use it to decorate as desired on top. Place in a roasting pan, brush the top with egg wash, and cut a few small slits in the pastry for venting.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the center registers at 125 degrees Fahrenheit with a meat thermometer. This is meant to be a nice, rare roast. Remove from oven and let rest at least 10 minutes before cutting into thick slices and serving.
If there is any juice left in the roasting pan from the beef, pour it in the pan on the stovetop you are using to make your gravy. Add the EVOO, garlic, shallots, thyme, and sauté lightly. Take off heat and add brandy, and using a matchstick lighter, light the liquid in the pan to flambé! Do not put back on the burner until all the alcohol has burned off. Return to heat and add stock, then reduce by 1/2. Strain out solids and return to heat. Add the cream and mustard, then reduce by 1/2 again. If you are not happy with the consistency and want your gravy a little thicker, add up to (but no more than) 1 teaspoon of flour. Shut off heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.