Classic Beef Wellington
A step by step guide to making your own puff pastry from Rosemary Wadey was the centrepiece of a recipe for the classic Beef Wellington in 1993. But the WI was moving with the times and accepted that though some members might make their own pastry from scratch, many others had neither the skill or the time to do so. As Rosemary says, ‘making your own isn’t a quick process… but well worth the effort. If time is at a premium or you can’t face making your own, there are some very good alternatives available’. All kinds of convenience foods were appearing in supermarkets offering short cuts and labour saving for busy women and good quality ready-made puff pastry, frozen or chilled, put this dish within the reach of everyday cooks. Now we go one step better and have access to excellent quality ready-made pastries made with butter rather than vegetable fat, as in the original home made version.
|675g/ 1½lb||piece of fillet of beef (thick end)|
|2||onions, peeled and finely chopped|
|100g/ 4oz||mushrooms, chopped|
|2 level tbsp||chopped fresh parsley|
|1 level tsp||chopped fresh thyme|
|1-2||cloves garlic, crushed|
|3-4 tbsp||freshly made breadcrumbs|
|salt and pepper|
|450g/ 1lb||puff pastry|
You will need a baking sheet.
This must be one of the favourite ‘en croute’ dishes of all time. Fillet steak is not cheap but there is no wastage, and this makes an excellent dish for a celebration.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the fillet of beef on all sides until well sealed and lightly browned – about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Fry the onions in the same fat until soft and lightly coloured, add the mushrooms and continue cooking for a few minutes more. Remove from the heat and mix in the herbs, garlic, breadcrumbs and plenty of seasoning. Allow to cool. Roll out the pastry to a rectangle large enough to enclose the beef. Spread the mushroom mixture over the pastry and place the beef on top. Wrap the beef completely in the pastry, damping the edges to seal, then place on a greased baking sheet with the seam underneath and the ends tucked under. Decorate the top with a double row of leaves made from the pastry trimmings. Glaze well and make one or two small slits. Bake in a hot oven (220C/425F/Gas mark 7) for about 40 minutes until the pastry is well puffed and browned. At this stage the beef should be rare. If more cooking is required lower the temperature to moderate (l80C/350F/Gas mark 4) and cook for a further 15 minutes for medium to well done. Serve hot or cold.
Cooking this recipe today...
Make the Beef Wellington using a 500g block ready-made puff pastry made with butter, defrosted if frozen. Use chestnut mushrooms for the best flavour, and medium onions. We prefer our meat rarer so reduce cooking times to 25-30 minutes in the oven for medium rare.