Explainers

How to make Beef Wellington

The classic dinner party dish gets a modern makeover.

Photo: Brett Stevens

Brett Stevens
4 - 6
50M
1H
1H 50M

Beef Wellington was one of Gourmet Traveller’s original cover stars in 1967, where it featured alongside tomatoes stuffed with petits pois and pomme purée. At the time, it was the height of dinner party sophistication. But its origins date back much further, beyond the 17th-century duke for which it is named, and all the way back to Roman times. For this modern take on the classic dish, we’ve used a spelt butter puff pastry and Pedro Ximénez instead of Madeira. A layer of silverbeet and caul fat encases the duxelles and beef fillet, which stops the moisture from the mushrooms and beef making the pastry soggy; it also helps the beef remain moist and tender. Beef Wellington is perfect for a party because it can be prepared ahead of time, brushed with eggwash, and set aside in the refrigerator. Then simply bake it in a hot oven until the pastry is puffed and golden and you have a real show-stopper on your hands.

Ingredients

Duxelles

Method

1.Place caul fat in a large bowl of cold water; soak for 1 hour. Rinse well under running water. Drain and dry well with paper towel. Open out caul fat and lay on a large oven tray covered with a clean damp tea towel until required.
2.For duxelles, place soaked and fresh mushrooms with olives in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Heat oil and butter in a large frying pan over high heat; cook shallots and garlic, stirring occasionally, until shallots begin to soften (4 minutes). Add mushroom mixture; cook, stirring frequently, until starting to colour (5 minutes). Deglaze pan with sherry and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is dry and begins to catch on base of pan (10 minutes). Transfer to a bowl, add herbs, pâté, and season to taste; stir to combine. Refrigerate until cooled.
3.Preheat oven to 200˚C. Drizzle a large frying pan with oil and heat over high heat. Season beef then sear in pan, turning occasionally, until browned all over (4-6 minutes). Place on a large oven tray lined with baking paper and roast for 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
4.Roll pastry sheet on baking paper to a 35cm x 45cm rectangle. Transfer pastry on paper to an oven tray, cover and refrigerate until required.
5.Pat dry silverbeet with paper towel and place flat, slightly overlapping, on a large chopping board to form a rectangle large enough to wrap around and enclose beef. Spread duxelles over top of beef, then place beef, horizontally on silverbeet; roll tightly to enclose beef in silverbeet.
6.On a separate large chopping board, stretch caul fat out and cut to form a rectangle large enough to wrap and enclose beef. Trim excess and discard remaining caul fat. Place beef horizontally on caul fat, roll to enclose and fold in ends to seal. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap to form an approximately 25cm log; freeze for 30 minutes to set in shape.
7.Slide pastry on baking paper onto a work surface and position horizontally in front of you. Unwrap beef and place, duxelles-side down, horizontally in middle of pastry. Brush edges of pastry with eggwash, fold long edges over beef, roll tightly, slightly overlapping edges and press to seal. Trim short edges and brush with eggwash; fold up to seal. Transfer, seam-side down to a large oven tray lined with baking paper. Brush all over with eggwash and freeze for 10 minutes; repeat with eggwash twice more. Make two small slits on either end of Wellington to allow steam to escape while cooking.
8.Score pastry in a 2cm cross-hatch pattern, season to taste and scatter with extra thyme leaves. Bake, rotating tray halfway through cooking time, until pastry is golden and puffed, and beef is cooked to medium-rare (30 minutes); rest for 30 minutes before carving.
9.Meanwhile, place jus and mustard in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil (6-8 minutes); season to taste. To serve, place Beef Wellington on a large platter and serve with mustard jus, steamed beans and mixed baby leaves on the side. Carve as desired.

Caul fat, the fatty membrane between a pig’s stomach and diaphragm, can be ordered from your butcher. Centre-cut beef fillet is a beef tenderloin trimmed to remove the wider head and narrow tail end to create an even piece. Red wine jus is available from select supermarkets and butchers. We use Carême spelt butter puff pastry, available from select supermarkets and online.

Notes

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