This weekend I made a Beef Wellington for the first time with my beloved Annika (@anysroad). I usually don’t cook fiddly high maintenance food but this was a special request from Annika as she wanted to do a little cooking video for her Dad and thought he would love to see a Wellington in action.
This needs a little further explanation, as Annika is putting together the most amazing present for her Dad’s birthday. She has created a blog for him and is collecting stories from his past, from his friends and family and on topics she knows would interest him and is going to post these blogs every so often for the entire year after his birthday, for him to read and enjoy. I think that is such an amazingly thoughtful and creative idea! So, how could I refuse a request linked to such an amazing gift.
For those of you who don’t know what a Beef Wellington is, it’s fillet covered with goose liver pâté and finely chopped mushrooms wrapped in prosciutto and then in puff pastry and baked. We opted for a slightly more cost effective version and used chicken liver pâté and bacon.
This may sound like complete over kill in terms of flavours but each flavour compliments the other and for a special occasion it just sets itself apart as being something extraordinary. We added crispy baked potatoes and a massive salad and enjoyed this meal with family and friends. It was terrific!
I was surprised at how easy the dish actually was and by making up the main part of the meal the night before and only doing the finishing touches the next day, it really was not the production I had expected it to be. Read through the recipe thoroughly, make sure you have everything and do a little planning before you start. This will ensure that everything works out perfectly.
Serves 6 generous portions
1kg beef fillet, well trimmed. The thinner side of the fillet is best for this dish.
2 Tbsp of butter
250g mushrooms (button, brown or black are good), washed
½ tsp of thyme
½ tsp of salt
½ tsp of cumin (optional)
½ tsp of smoked paprika (optional)
½ a cup of white wine
1 Tbsp of soya sauce
125g chicken liver pâté
250g streaky bacon strips
500g puff pastry, defrosted but still cool and firm
1 egg, well whisked up with a fork
Pre-heat your oven to 220C° with the fan on and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Pat the fillet dry of any excess blood and rub it with a little oil and black pepper. Lay it on a baking tray and roast it for about 15 – 25 minutes depending on the desired done’ness. It will be baked again at a later stage, so it should only be half way cooked to the desired end result. Rest the fillet in the fridge to cool down.
Finely chop the mushrooms until they resemble rough bread crumbs. Fry them in the butter, adding the seasoning, wine and soya sauce. Fry this until the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms have formed a thick paste. Set this aside to cool.
On flat surface lay two sheets of cling wrap about 10cms longer than the fillet, over lapping a bit, next to each other. Lay the strips of bacon length ways across the join so that the row of bacon strips is slightly longer than the fillet itself. Spread the mushrooms over the bacon in a thin layer.
Spread the chicken liver pâté over the cooled fillet with a butter knife. Place the fillet along the long edge of the bacon. Using the cling wrap to lift and roll, wrap the fillet in the bacon, seal the cling wrap and twist the ends to create a tight wrapping around the fillet. Leave this in the fridge to cool completely.
Roll out your defrosted puff pastry on a floured surface. Roll it out large enough that the width can wrap around the fillet with a small over lap and that the ends can be pinched closed and trimmed if necessary.
Unwrap the fillet and paint it with the egg wash. Lay the base of the fillet half way over over the edge of long side of the pastry. Roll the fillet in the pastry and gently press closed the join. Pinch closed the ends and trim.
You can now immediately bake this or you can rest it in the fridge further until ready for use.
Pre-heat your oven to 220C° with the fan on and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Paint the pastry with the remaining egg wash and bake on a baking tray for 15 – 25 minutes depending on the desired done’ness and until the pastry is golden and crispy.
Rest for a few minutes before slicing.