Welly Wednesdays are back and better than ever.
If you have ever dreamed of making Wellington, or traveled all the way to London like I have, to indulge in 'Welly Wednesday' at the infamous Holburn Dining Room (pictured above) than here is the classic recipe for the classiest dish for you to make at home. Yes, make at home!
It is easier than you think, makes a great party dish for the holidays, because you complete all the prep prior to day of. So read on to make this classic, then indulge with leftovers, and get ready to wow your guests.
'There are a couple steps to this, so read on through, read the notes, then take it piece by piece, you wont be disappointed !
The following recipe will consist of :
Beef Wellington -serves 4-6
2 T olive oil
1 ea onion, small diced
5 ea garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
2 # mushrooms (crimini) cleaned, chopped small, stems and all
1 T tomato paste
1/2 btle red wine, cabernet variety
2 cup chicken stock, or vegetable stock
2 ea bay leaves
Gather all mise en place and chop all produce.
Heat a medium pot over medium flame, add the oil
Add the onions and garlic and let sweat until translucent
Add the mushrooms and let sauté for at least 2 minutes
Add the tomato paste, stir and let cook for 2 minutes
Add the red wine and chicken stock to the mixture and bring to hard simmer, turn heat down to low
Add in the herbs, salt and pepper, allow to cook 'slow and low' until au sec
Remove and let cool to room temp before using, or make a day ahead, store in the fridge until ready to roll wellingtons.
Don't salt too much as you will want all that liquid to reduce down, salting too much in the beginning will leave it over salted at the end.
If you see it is boiling too much, move the pan to one side of the flame and keep it on low, the addition of rest of the bottle of wine may be necessary if it is reducing too fast.
1 ea beef filet (12 inches or 2 ea 6 inch pieces)
1 T oil
3 t salt
fresh cracked pepper
Heat a medium sauté pan over medium high heat, add oil
Season the beef with salt and pepper, fresh milled is always best
Sear in pan until golden brown on all sides, best to put on the fan on your stove, you want a hard sear and for it to take as little time as possible so the meat doesn't cook on the inside.
Remove from pan, and let cool to room temperature, you can sear this ahead of time and keep in the fridge until ready to roll.
-Searing does NOT lock in juices, it is an element of the Maillard reaction, it is done for flavor and appearance. I would recommend a high heat sear, but alas, the home fire alarms are not made for our culinary high heat sears... I speak from experience, from having many fire alarms go off, in many homes... so go with medium high, put the fan on your stove, and don't move the meat too much, let it brown as much as possible before turning.
-Don't be afraid to ask the meat counter to cut a fresh chateau for you, more than likely they have it in the back if you don't see it in the display.
-You want a Chateau piece, so nothing with the tail of the meat folded over, or the head piece. If the head piece (butt tenderloin in the picture below) is all they have, I recommend it over the end piece.
2 ea Freezer sheet puff dough (I use this brand)
or make your own using the Quick Puff Dough Recipe below :
2 c flour (regular or Gluten Free)
1 t salt
250 g butter, frozen
2/3 c water
Grate frozen butter on large holes in grater into a medium bowl
Mix in flour, careful not to break up butter too much, work quickly so as to keep butter cold
Add in cold water and mix together
Chill for at least 15 minutes
Roll into a rectangle, fold like a book into thirds, and repeat steps 4 and 5, three times.
Roll into final rectangle and proceed to assembly instructions.
2 T Dijon mustard
1 ea beef filet (12 inches or 2 ea 6 inch pieces), seared and chilled
2 ea puff dough sheets, thawed, or fresh sheet rolled into rectangle
8 slices proscuitto
2-3 cup duxelle, chilled
1 ea egg
2 T water
Schmear Dijon mustard all over Beef Filet and place to side while getting rest of Wellington ready
Place thawed puff dough on counter and roll out ever so slightly, see picture
Shingle prosciutto slices on top of puff dough, leaving about a half inch of space on all sides
Place duxelle on top of prosciutto, pressing down slightly to make a nice bed for the beef
Place beef on top of duxelle and roll puff dough over entire beef, make sure prosciutto covers the beef well, this will keep the dough from going soggy due to the duxelle
Press dough down to seal edges, cut away excess, crimp or fold edges over to lock in all ingredients
Make small incisions on top of Wellington, to allow air to escape while cooking
Mix egg and water together to form an egg wash, brush over entire wellington
Now you can place this in the fridge and keep until needed (can be kept up to 2 days in fridge or a week in the freezer)
When ready to bake, set oven to convection at 400, remember all ovens are not equal, refer here to read on baking times and oven temperatures and bake for 30 minutes, check and bake more if needed. The puff should be a beautiful golden brown, the meat inside a nice medium rare. If taking temperatures on the beef with a thermometer, it should read at least 115, not more than 120. Remove from oven and let rest before serving.
keep everything the same, but switch out the beef for seared scallops! Make smaller individual servings.
keep the Dijon mustard schmear, season the salmon with salt and pepper, wrap and bake until golden brown. Serve with pickled red onions and arugula.
I would suggest spinach cooked and drained well, caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash, some goat cheese, pine nuts, and finish with balsamic vinegar reduction. (chef's kiss!)
While Beef Wellington is the classic dish, don't be afraid to replace the beef with a fish, I have done small pockets of scallops with the duxelle and it is delicious! Basically anything you wrap in a laminated butter dough will be amazing, duh.
Salmon wrapped in puff dough is another classic and another recipe, but try just wrapping your next piece in puff dough, season and throw in the oven, it will come out super soft, tender, and delicious!
For the vegetarians you can put more veggies alongside the duxelle and omit the prosciutto, just remember to pre cook the veggies prior, so they can drain well and not leave your pastry soggy.
Best for Holiday Parties
This really is the end all game changer for parties, all the prep is done ahead, and you just pop in the oven while entertaining. There are no final steps except to slice and enjoy!
Now, in the real world, this recipe works great, for a professional kitchen it is a very small scale. While in the kitchen we made Wellingtons many times, sometimes for weddings of 180 people. Instead of chopping the mushrooms by hand (because you were using 3 or more cases of them), you grind them in a robo coup, into very small pieces, making the duxelle more of a paste. You can keep chopping the ones in the recipe if you'd like, just unnecessary. We would use freshly butchered whole tenderloins, and puff pastry that was as wide as your stove. Cooking them was always a feat, because you had to make sure to keep them all medium rare, as you cooked 15 or more in the two ovens we had, but man was it worth it. The waitstaff would linger after serving them, scrounging for a piece, all the chefs and cooks got to indulge, and we even made sure to save some for the morning crew. If there were any leftover uncooked ones, we saved in the freezer for specials, wedding tastings, or just snacks. Wellington day was always a favorite in the kitchen, hope it becomes one of yours as well.
Mise en Place - 'putting everything in its place' gathering, prepping, laying out all tools needed, ingredients needed, towels, cutting board, etc. all 'in its place'
Au Sec - means 'nearly dry' in French, wait until all the liquid is cooked out and the pan/pot is 'nearly dry'
Chateau - comes from Chateaubriand, it is the center thick cut of the beef tenderloin.
Maillard Reaction - a chemical reaction that occurs between amino acids and sugars that give food its brown color and flavor.
Duxelle - a preparation of finely chopped mushrooms, onions and garlic cooked down to nearly a paste and used for stuffing, fillings, etc.