Beef Wellington 101

By Chef Vincent Tropepe

The Meat

We’re starting with one of the most tender cuts of beef ever—the tenderloin! Beef tenderloin is super delicious, but without bones or much marbling, it’s not the most flavorful cut of beef in the world. That is why we season liberally. (Read: about 1 teaspoon kosher salt per pound.) That is also why we sear the meat before anything else. Browning the meat on all sides, including the ends, does SO MUCH for the flavor of the Wellington as a whole.

The Mustard
To add another layer of complexity to the finished product, brush the seared tenderloin with mustard. Feel free to use your favorite type—we love a variety with some heat like dijon or spicy brown mustard. 

The Mushrooms

AKA the duxelle, this mixture of mushrooms, shallots, and thyme is SUPER savory. As if beef tenderloin wasn’t bringing enough umami, this mixture takes it to the next level. Word to the wise: don’t try to speed up the cooking process on this one, you realllllly want to cook out as much of the moisture as possible. If you don’t, the mushrooms will continue to lose moisture when you’re baking the Wellington, which could lead to a soggy bottom.

The Prosciutto
Speaking of soggy bottoms (more specifically, how to avoid them) meet your new bestie: prosciutto! Wrapping your tenderloin in prosciutto is a little extra insurance. It provides a barrier for moisture, and on top of that it adds even more delicious meaty flavor. By shingling a layer of prosciutto onto a layer of plastic wrap, you can easily spread your duxelle in an even layer and wrap your tenderloin evenly. It’s a win/win!

The Pastry

Some people like to make their own puff pastry for their Beef Wellington. Those people are crazy. Well, maybe not crazy, but definitely overachievers. We’ve found that, not only is store bought puff pastry much more convenient, but it’s also incredibly delicious.

INGREDIENTS1 

(2 lb.) center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil, for greasing

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 1/2 lb. mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 shallot, roughly chopped

Leaves from 1 thyme sprig

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

12 thin slices prosciutto

Flour, for dusting

14 oz. frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 large egg, beaten

DIRECTIONS

  1. Using kitchen twine, tie tenderloin in 4 places. Season generously with salt and pepper. 
  2. Over high heat, coat bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil. Once pan is nearly smoking, sear tenderloin until well-browned on all sides, including the ends, about 2 minutes per side (12 minutes total). Transfer to a plate. When cool enough to handle, snip off twine and coat all sides with mustard. Let cool in fridge.
  3. Meanwhile, make duxelles: In a food processor, pulse mushrooms, shallots, and thyme until finely chopped. 
  4. To skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add mushroom mixture and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then let cool in fridge. 
  5. Place plastic wrap down on a work surface, overlapping so that it’s twice the length and width of the tenderloin. Shingle the prosciutto on the plastic wrap into a rectangle that’s big enough to cover the whole tenderloin. Spread the duxelles evenly and thinly over the prosciutto. 
  6. Season tenderloin, then place it at the bottom of the prosciutto. Roll meat into prosciutto-mushroom mixture, using plastic wrap to roll tightly. Tuck ends of prosciutto as you roll, then twist ends of plastic wrap tightly into a log and transfer to fridge to chill (this helps it maintain its shape).
  7. Heat oven to 425°. Lightly flour your work surface, then spread out puff pastry and roll it into a rectangle that will cover the tenderloin (just a little bigger than the prosciutto rectangle you just made!). Remove tenderloin from plastic wrap and place on bottom of puff pastry. Brush the other three edges of the pastry with egg wash, then tightly roll beef into pastry. 
  8. Once the log is fully covered in puff pastry, trim any extra pastry, then crimp edges with a fork to seal well. Wrap roll in plastic wrap to get a really tight cylinder, then chill for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove plastic wrap, then transfer roll to a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with flaky salt. 
  10. Bake until pastry is golden and the center registers 120°F for medium-rare, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before carving and serving.

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