“Tenderloin of Beef Wellington. Larded tenderloin of beef. Roast very rare. Allow to cool and roll into pie crust. Slice in portions and serve with sauce Madire.” — The Oxford English Dictionary, 1939
Beef Wellington is a preparation of beef tenderloin coated with duxelles (diced and cooked mushrooms) with or without pâté de foie gras, wrapped in puff or pie pastry and baked. The trick is to cook mushrooms well, so they will retain the meat moisture and prevent the pastry from becoming soggy. This dish can be extremely luxurious, if all the fancy ingredients are used — wild mushrooms, foie gras pate, or prosciutto/jamon to wrap beef tenderloin.
This week I’ve been working on Wellington logistics to serve it for a large group. As a result, we were lucky to eat Wellington for lunch a couple of days. To fit the event into their budget, my clients decided to go with pork tenderloin, but I tried both pork and beef just in case. So, we tasted them side by side. The verdict is final — Prime beef tenderloin wellington is the king. You can make it pretty decent with pork or poultry, but beef is fabulous.
I am adding Beef Wellington to my romantic/date dinners menu. When I ate it the other day, I just realized I forgave myself everything…
Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine dry and wet mixtures, make the dough, knead it well, and let it stay in room temperature for about 30-45 minutes to activate the yeast. Cover and refrigerate it for at least another hour, or longer (up to 3 days) until ready to assemble the roll.
to pre-cook beef tenderloin
Rub tenderloin with freshly ground black pepper, salt, and French thyme.
Place a skillet on high heat and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil with high smoking point. When hot, sear tenderloin on 4 sides, turning every minute, for about 8 minutes.
It'll look like this at the end.
At this point, it is cooked 0.3" (8mm) through. Let it rest, cool down to room temp, and refrigerate until ready to assemble the roll.
to pre-cook mushrooms
Clean mushrooms with dry paper towels and dice.
Place a large skillet on high heat and add 1 tbsp of butter. When butter is melted, add mushrooms. Season and cook them on high heat, constantly stirring, until reduced in volume 4-5 times. Add Sherry, let evaporate.
Add cream, thyme, toasted shallots, cook for another minute stirring, and take off the heat. Let them cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until ready to assemble the roll.
to make the roll and bake it
Preheat oven to 350F.
On the dough, spread pre-cooked mushrooms 0.2" thick to cover the area that will go around the tenderloin. Brush the rest of the dough with melted butter.
Wrap the tenderloin and secure the sides.
Finish the roll, place it so the end of the dough in under, and score the top cutting all the way to the layer of mushrooms. Make an egg wash and brush the top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, turn off the heat, and keep for another 10 minutes in the oven. Check the inner temperature (125-130F for pink). Use serrated knife for slicing.