How to make the perfect Beef wellington
It’s probably the most classic of classic festive recipes; a beef welling. It’s not necessarily a very complicated dish, but you do have to take some time to perfect the recipe plus there are some tricky things to keep into account when making it. Follow the steps and the tips and you’ll go a long way. You usually make a Beef Wellington during special occasions such as Christmas or a special birthday party.
Easy Beef Wellington recipe
The first time I made a beef Wellington I made a vegetarian version with mushrooms. Because you can make different wellingtons; salmon wellington and beef wellington being the most well known. The possibilities are endless. If you want to make a good impression start with the beef wellington!
Gordon Ramsay is the king of the beef Wellington. You can’t google the recipe and not run into his recipe. So the recipe I’m sharing today is partially based on Gordon’s beef Wellington.
The good thing about making this recipe is that you can prepare most of the things in advance. So once your Christmas dinner comes around you will only need to place it in the oven and finish the dish. A few things to look out for when you’re making your Beef wellington is below.
To make the dish I used a roll of puff pastry dough. That is the most delicious to use for the beef wellington. Make sure you go for a square version to make the wrapping process easier to do. You have round ones too so check the packaging.
What equipment do you need to make the Beef Wellington?
While not all things are essential, they will make the job easier to do:
- You need a food processor to process the mushrooms
- A good baking sheet to place the beef on
- A paring knife for cutting small parts
- Parchment paper to place the beef on
- A good meat thermometer to make sure you have the right meat temperature. (don’t skip this one either. it is essential!)
- A large frying pan
- Clean work surface
- large piece of plastic wrap
- Kitchen paper
Tips for a perfect Beef Wellington
Although a Beef Wellington isn’t the most difficult of recipes, there are a few things that will determine the succes of your main dish. And a few things that will make or break it. While I understand it is also not a very cheap dish to make I would still recommend trying it out before the actual dinner party. Maybe use a smaller or cheaper cut of meat to make sure you get it right.
- Go to your butcher and ask for a beautiful piece of tenderloin. Make sure the beef is already prepared and cleaned. Don’t go for the cheapest cut here (unless using it for testing)
- Before prepping the meat take it out of the fridge to get to room temperature.
- Use a sheet of puff pastry and keep the leftovers to make some fun decorations on top of the beef wellington .
- Use your instant read thermometer to make sure the beef is cooked properly. You can actually feel the beef as it is wrapped inside a buttery puff pastry layer. The only way to get the right cuison is the thermometer. Medium rare is 45˚C.
- Once the beef is out of the oven leave to rest for around 15 minutes to half an hour. That way you make sure the juices do not run out of the meat as soon as you start slicing.
For the mushroom duxelles make sure you let it cook long enough to have all the moisture evaporate. If it is too wet the puff pastry will become soggy.
If you want to make some fun decorations on top you can use a cookie cutter or use a small knife to make some forms. I used little stars to make it even more festive.
Preparing the beef Wellington
Start by putting the oven on (unless you’re not making it right away of course) at a temperature of 220˚C (425˚F). Remove any excess moisture from the meat and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Using butter and olive oil together in a large pan sear the beef on all sides so it is nice golden brown and caramelized. Take out of the pan and leave to cool.
Next is your mushroom mixture. For this you use the food processor and place all the mushrooms with some of the thyme in it. Quickly pulse till you have small pieces. Don’t let them get too small. You do not want to have mushroom paste!
Again using butter combined with oil you saute the mushrooms until they are nicely browned. I then season them with salt and pepper and add the white wine. Leave this to simmer slowly on medium-high heat until nice and soft and all moisture is gone. This take about 10 minutes.
Now you take two large pieces of plastic wrap. Roll out your puff pastry on top of the plastic wrap. You can also do this on a lightly floured surface but I prefer to do it on the wrap for ease of wrapping later. On top of the puff pastry sheet you place the slices of prosciutto or parma ham. Make sure they line up nicely to wrap around the piece of beef. You can also spread a little Dijon mustard at this stage over the prosciutto if you want.
Use half of your mushroom mixture to spread over the prosciutto. Place the piece of beef on top of the mushrooms. Divide the other half of the mushrooms over the beef. Now roll the puff pastry tightly around the piece of beef and trim ends of any excess pastry. It can overlap at the seam but not for too big a piece or it won’t cook through properly. Make sure the seams are closed tightly. Now – using the plastic wrap – you tightly wrap it around the beef Wellington and place in the fridge to set for about half an hour or until you’re ready to finish your beef Wellington. You can leave it now for 24 hours if you want.
Wrap the leftover puff pastry so it doesn’t dry out. You’ll need this later for the decorations.
When you’re ready to finish the beef Wellington take it out of the fridge and place it on the baking tray. Taking a small bowl whisk the egg yolk with a little splash of milk and brush the pastry all over with egg wash. Now is also the time to make your decorations. Place those on the beef Wellington. It will stick due to the egg wash. You can prick a few holes in the puff pastry to let any steam escape in the oven. Also make sure you brush the decorations as well.
Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and wait for it to get to the right temperature. Baking should take around 30 minutes or until the meat thermometer says 45˚C (or 115-120˚F) Let it rest for 15-30 minutes and use a serrated knife to cut slices of the beef at the table.
Which cuts of beef are best for a beef Wellington?
You can use a whole tenderloin, filet mignon or a nice fillet of beef. Your butcher will know which cuts are best for the beef Wellington.
What to serve with the beef Wellington?
I like to serve the beef Wellington with things like roasted Brussels Sprouts, cranberry sauce (perfect for the holiday season!) potato mash or the perfect baked potatoes. It will also pair really well with a nice glass of pinot noir or another dark red wine of your choice.
- Meat thermometer
- Food processor
- 270 gr puff pastry square in one piece, one roll
- 1000 gr beef tenderloin one piece
- 250 gram chestnut mushrooms
- 1 twig fresh thyme
- 100 ml white wine
- 12 slices prosciutto
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp milk
- unsalted butter
- olive oil
- pepper and salt
- Preheat the oven to 220˚C (425˚F)
- Pat the tenderloin dry and sprinkle with pepper and salt.
- Using a large frying pan place a good amount of butter and olive oil in the pan and sear the beef briefly on all sides until golden brown. It doesn't need to be cooked completely. Take out of the pan and leave to cool down.
- Cut the mushrooms finely or use a food processor to place all the mushrooms and the thyme together and briefly pulse to make smaller pieces. Not too small!
- Add some olive oil in the pan and also a big piece of butter. Add the chopped mushrooms with the thyme and saute until they are cooked and golden brown.
- Season the mushrooms with pepper and salt and pour the white wine in.
- Let this simmer for about 10 minutes or until all the wine is absorbed and the mixture is no longer wet.
- Take two large pieces of cling film and rol out the puff pastry on top.
- Divide the slices of prosciutto over the puff pastry, divide half of the mushroom mixture over this and place the piece of beef on top. Spread the rest of the mushroom mixture over the beef.
- Using the cling film you roll the whole thing together as tightly as possible. Make sure you seal the beef Wellington properly.
- Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up till 24 hours in advance to set.
- Whisk your egg yolk with a tiny splash of milk, remove the foil from the beef and brush the top of the beef wellington with the egg wash.
- Now place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for about 30 minutes or until the core temperature reads 45˚C (115-120 ˚F) for medium rare Bak de beef wellington nu ca. 30 minuten tot een kerntemperatuur van ca. 45 graden voor medium rare. Each oven is different so make sure to use your thermometer.
- Take out of the oven and leave to rest for about 15-30 minutes before cutting.
The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.