This is what I made for dinner this past Christmas Eve. I’ve never made Beef Wellington before and can now check it off my ‘culinary bucket list’.
We wanted to have something special for the holidays, but didn’t want the more traditional turkey dinner. We thought about Beef Bourguignon, which I’ve made before – but we wanted to try something new and different. That’s where the idea of making a Beef Wellington came from.Image from Amazon.com
All the recipes I saw online called for basically encasing a beef tenderloin in a rich, chopped mushroom mixture, wrapped in a layer of prosciutto strips and then baked in a puffed pastry. Honestly, the idea of prosciutto wasn’t very appealing and was almost a deal breaker. That’s when I looked at Julia Child’s recipe from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. I bought the 2-volume set awhile back, but haven’t gotten around to trying any of the recipes.
Julia’s recipe is actually more like 3 separate recipes – but she doesn’t call for prosciutto. It was a little ambitious for me, but the more I read the recipe, I slowly realized I was going to have to make it.
Her recipe calls for slicing the beef tenderloin and filling each of the slices with the deliciously rich mushroom wine mixture, binding the tenderloin back together and wrapping in twine and cheesecloth and roasting it quickly at 425. Then I cooled it completely and refrigerated it. While in the fridge I made her Sauce Brune to go with it- a brown, roux-based sauce reduction which ended up being, hands down, one of the best things I’ve ever made.
Then I brought the tenderloin back to room temperature and wrapped it in puff pastry. This recipe also called for using a Brioche dough, instead of puff pastry. I have to admit the recipe for Brioche was a little more than what I wanted to get into, so that’s where I drew the line.
The puff pastry worked great and everything came together beautifully.
The end result? Amazing. Beef Wellington, while a little extravagant, is meant for celebrating and perfect for the holidays.
Here’s to a great 2013 ahead of us!