How to Prepare the Perfect Beef Wellington
To prepare a perfect and truly unforgettable Beef Wellington, there are a few special steps that you have to follow in order for it to become truly and amazingly unforgettable. During the course of this paper, I will walk you through the steps to achieving just that.
Together we will uncover the myths that lie beneath the cookbook horror and torture that make so many of us shy away from trying this dish because of failure. Creating an exceptional dish will require you to work with an assortment of utensils and ingredients. You may not be familiar with all of them, but do not be alarmed.
They are all easy to master in the end. Let’s start with the grocery list and move you into the process slow and steady. I will list the required measurements beside each item. They are not in any special order. ? One 4-6 pound Beef Tenderloin – (a specific cut of beef) ? ? cup of diced onions ? 5 tbsp + 3 tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil ? 10 cloves of garlic – 4 minced completely and 6 peeled – gently smashed (you can do this as you peel them, it is easier to get the peel off the cloves if you lay the flat edge of your chef or butcher knife on the clove and hit the topside of the blade with your fist.
) ? 1 cup sliced mushrooms – your choice of type ? 6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature ? 2 tbsp salted butter (melted) ? 1 pkg frozen puff pastry – you will need at least 1 ? of the 2 in the pkg. ? 4 tbsp Kosher or Sea Salt, mainly due to the texture ? 2 tsp plain salt ? 4 tbsp fresh cracked black or multicolored peppercorns ? 1 egg + 1 tbsp water mixed together to make an egg wash ? Cooking spray (such as Pam) ? 2 – 3 tbsp all purpose flour for dusting your work surfaces ? 4 tbsp Red Wine – any kind as long as you enjoy the taste yourself.
Do not ever cook with wine that you would not drink yourself. You can substitute this with cooking wine if you like. Now I will list the utensils you will need for the preparation of this dish. You will need to gather the required items and have them in your reach when you begin to prepare the dish. Having all the ingredients and required utensils within easy access helps the process go more smoothly. So take a few minutes to gather everything you need for this adventure, set it up in a clean, spacious area of your kitchen so it will be well organized before you begin. Trust me, this will help so much.
? A copy of this recipe in a zip-lock bag to keep it from getting dirty. You can tape it to the wall or prop it up somewhere easy to see at eye level. ? 1 large Chef or Butcher knife that you are comfortable using ? 1 long, bladed Fillet Knife – very sharp ? 1 pair of tongs ? 1 large skillet – one big enough to lay the tenderloin inside to sear the sides ? 1 large roasting pan with a rack in the bottom to keep the roast off the pan surface ? 1 flat baking sheet with at least a ? inch lip – lined with aluminum foil ? 1 Pastry Brush ? 1 Rolling Pin ? 1 large cutting board
? 1 Gallon size Zip-lock bag ? Cooking twine ? Scissors ? Measuring Cups ? Measuring Spoons ? 1 medium mixing bowl ? (Optional) Small cookie cutters in leaves, circles or crescent shapes Arrange all of your ingredients and utensils around your work station. Doing this will ensure the most comfortable way that works for you when it comes time to start. Preparation of the various items that need to be chopped, minced, diced, etc. , will speed the process up when you begin to work on the actual dish. When you feel comfortable with your arranged supplies and ingredients, you can begin.
Step 1: To get everything started and underway, please preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the skillet on the stove and heat it on a medium high temperature. When the skillet begins to warm you can add the 2 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 tbsp butter and a pinch of salt & cracked pepper. As the ingredients begin to melt down, drop in your diced onions, 4 minced cloves of garlic, the entire cup of mushrooms and the 4 tbsp of red wine. Saute them on medium high until the onions are translucent, the wine has reduced in volume and the mushrooms are tender, yet not falling apart.
Remove from the skillet and allow to cool while we mix the other ingredients together for the filling. Step 2: To prepare the filling for the tenderloin you will need to mix together the following ingredients: 4 tbsp softened butter, your sauteed onions, mushrooms and garlic mixture after they are cool enough to handle. Mix very well until you form a creamy spreadable butter mixture. Now we are ready to prepare the tenderloin. Step 3: To prepare the tenderloin you will need the cutting board and the fillet knife.. If you have never filleted a piece of tenderloin before, it is not really that hard.
I will walk you through the steps. First you need to lay out your tenderloin on the cutting board facing you lengthwise. Place the knife on the left side end of the tenderloin and make an incision into the tenderloin about 1 – 1 ? inches thick. Slowly continue to cut along the length of the tenderloin until you reach the other end, trying your best to keep the depth of your cut as even as possible. When you reach the end, you start over again but going the opposite direction making sure to keep the same depth of your cut until you are able to lay the tenderloin out completely flat on your cutting board.
You have just filleted a cut of beef. See, it was not that hard. Step 4: Take your butter mixture, place it in spoonfuls onto the flat tenderloin and rub it very generously all over the tenderloin, allowing about ? inch at one end with no mixture — that will be your top sealing flap. After you have rubbed all the mixture into and all over your tenderloin, begin to roll the tenderloin back onto itself lengthwise, forming the round tenderloin as before you cut it, just now with lots of yummy stuffing inside.
Wash your hands very well, grab your kitchen twine and cut 5 – 7 equal pieces of twine about 16 – 18 inches long. You will take each piece, wrap it around the diameter of the roll starting at one end and work your way to the other, tying up the tenderloin so it will hold together while you sear it for sealing. Do not worry about the extra string, just cut off the excess after you finish tying up the entire piece of tenderloin. By this time the tenderloin should be at room temperature which is the perfect degree to get a sear on the tenderloin without it becoming tough and chewy.
Always let your tenderloin rest at room temperature or close to that before placing it inside a hot pan so you do not have all the tiny tendons and muscles that are woven inside the tenderloin seize up and shrivel. That is what happens when you put a cold piece of beef into a hot skillet, grill or pan, and that is how it becomes very tough. Step 5: Now we are going to sear our tenderloin, but before we do this, we need to heat the remaining butter inside the skillet allowing it to become very hot, but do not burn the butter! It will taste horrible and you will have to wash out the skillet and start all over again.
Drizzle the 3 tsp of olive oil onto the tenderloin’s outside surface and rub it all over the tenderloin. Combine the remaining Kosher salt and the 3 tbsp of the cracked peppercorns to sprinkle all over the outer surface of the tenderloin after you coat it with the olive oil, do not forget about the ends of the tenderloin, they need love too. Step 6: With your skillet growing hot on medium high to just above medium high, take your tongs and lift the tenderloin up, placing it into the searing hot pan on the seam side first. Leave it on that side at least 3 – 4 minutes for the proper crust to form on the outside of the tenderloin.
Now repeat this all over the entire tenderloin, making sure you do not forget the ends for this step as well. You will have to hold the tenderloin with your tongs as it stands on end to sear the end pieces but trust me it is totally worth it. When you are done with searing the surface of the tenderloin, it should look crispy / crunchy and a deep golden brown, do not let it burn, watch it very closely during the searing process. It is a fine line at this point between searing to the perfect golden crunchy exterior and burning it into a piece of shoe leather.
Remove the tenderloin and skillet from the stove top and place the tenderloin aside to rest about 10 – 15 minutes while you prepare for the next step in this process. Allowing the tenderloin to cool somewhat will help when it comes time to wrap it in the pastry. Step 7: We will now start on pastry preparation. The puff pastry usually comes in two folded sheets for each package. You will need both of them to be almost room temperature and pliable but not totally thawed out. The dough would become to flimsy if completely thawed.
It will rip and tear when you are try to stretch, move or roll it out. Pasty dough always works better when cool to cold, so when you are preparing any kind of dough, do not do it near the oven or any source of heat if you can help it. Dust the clean surface of your work area with flour, but reserve some for your rolling pin and hands. Unfold the sheets of pastry out onto the floured surface. Now take your rolling pin, dust it with flour and begin to roll out the creases in the dough so it will seal properly and not crack or break when you are rolling it around the tenderloin.
As your are rolling out the dough make sure you do not over work it too much and keep dusting with flour as needed to prevent the dough from becoming tough when baking. Now you can size up the width and length of the pastry either by your eye or you can measure it. Basically it needs to be long enough to wrap around the girth of the tenderloin with a 1 inch edge to overlap when you finish. That is the piece that is used to seal the seam along the bottom of the tenderloin. You also need at least 1 ? to 2 inches left on the width of the pastry to seal the ends of the tenderloin.
If it seems that you are going to need extra dough on the width or length, cut sections from the second sheet of dough, brush the adjoining ends with egg was and overlap them. Pinch the dough together to form a seal and roll out the seams until flat. Patch work is easy and sometimes necessary, but do not worry. You can use the seam to roll under the tenderloin and once you have it wrapped around the meat, you can smooth it out with your hand or cover it with decorations. The same goes for the ends, they are supposed to look like the crinkled, crimped ends of a sausage.
Creases are supposed to be there. Just make sure you take your time, do not get frustrated and use the egg wash to help with the seal. Step 8: Now that you have sized up your pastry, make your egg wash. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl with 1 tbsp water until the mixture is slightly frothy or bubbly. Step 9: It is now time to remove the twine from the tenderloin. The tenderloin should be cool enough that you can handle it. Be gentle removing the twine so the tenderloin does not begin to unroll while you are removing the twine.
You can either use tongs, the serving fork or your hands to hold it steady while removing the twine. Cut each piece twine with your knife and pull it from around the tenderloin. Place the tenderloin at the top of the pastry dough with both facing you lengthwise. Making sure you will be able to roll it towards you to see that the dough is not tearing. This also helps to make sure that the patches, if you had to make any, do not break apart as you roll them and you can catch it in case repair in needed. Step 10: Begin rolling the pastry and tenderloin towards you.
Make sure the entire piece is covered with pastry as you roll. There should be a 1 ? – 2 inch piece of dough hanging over at each end of the rolled tenderloin when complete. With a pastry brush, apply egg wash to the section of pastry at the end of the roll closest to you. Brush egg wash on the dough already around the pastry where the two sections are going to overlap also. This will help secure the seam you are going to create. By pinching the two sections of overlapping dough together that have the egg wash “glue” on them you will form a seal of dough.
Smooth the seam out with your fingers after you are satisfied it is sealed. This side will be on the bottom of the baking pan so if it is still a bit lumpy that is alright. If you need extra dough on the ends to help complete the seal of the tenderloin use some of the excess scrape pieces you have left over. To seal the ends, fold down the edges starting at the top and working your way around, overlapping the dough and crimping the ends together like a roll of sausage. This is where you can use patchwork if you need a little extra dough just to seal it completely.
Brush each end with egg wash to help hold the seal here also. Step 11: Now for an elegant touch, you can take small cookie cutters in the shape of leaves, crescent moons or circles and cut shapes of the remaining dough to place on top of the finished roll before placing it in the oven. Make sure you brush the top of the tenderloin again with egg wash if you added these. Step 12: Take your cooking spray and spray the baking sheet lined with foil very generously so the pastry will not stick to the foil.
Make sure you have brushed the top and sides of the tenderloin pastry with the egg wash very well before placing the tenderloin, seam side down, on the foil lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet on the middle rack in the center of the oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 -16 minutes. This step will help keep the puff pastry crunchy all over, while still cooking the tenderloin long enough to have the slow roasted taste. When the top of the crust starts to become a light golden brown, remove the tenderloin from the oven and check the bottom of it.
Has the pastry formed a good crust on the bottom or is it still soggy looking? It needs to have a good crust started before we can move it to the roasting pan. If there are still a few soggy parts on the bottom, cover the pastry with a piece of aluminum foil so it doesn’t start to burn. There needs to be enough foil to fit down both sides and the ends of the tenderloin roll to ensure the pastry does not overcook and begin to burn during this part. Place the baking sheet back in the over for another 8 or so minutes, checking about 5 – 6 minutes in just to make sure it does not burn on the bottom.
Step 13: When the pastry wrapped tenderloin becomes crunchy on the bottom, light golden brown on the top and smells like heaven, it is time to add the final touches and allow it to slow roast a little longer to infuse all the wonderful flavors even more. In the bottom of the roasting pan, put the 6 smashed garlic cloves, 2 tsp salt and the 3 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Just scatter them around under the baking rack. Now place the tenderloin, seam side down, on the rack inside the roaster. Allow the foil “hat” that we used already to cover the pastry to stay on for the first 20 minutes.
If you did not have a foil “hat” earlier then please make one now so the pastry does not burn during this cooking stage. It needs to cover the sides and all across the top of the pastry. When the 20 minutes is up, remove the roaster from the over and remove the foil “hat” from the the tenderloin. Check the pastry for any soggy areas underneath or on the ends. Melt the last 2 tbsp of salted butter and with the pastry brush, slather all of the butter on top of the pastry dough, its sides, edges, everywhere you can reach.
Don’t worry about the bottom it will run down there and help with the final roasting of the garlic cloves as well. Place the tenderloin uncovered back inside the oven for an additional 15 minutes making sure that you get a golden brown crust on the pastry and do not let it burn. Different ovens vary in temperature and cooking times, please watch your crust to make sure it does not burn. You can reduce the cooking time or increase it as you are cooking this to work with your specific oven. Step 14: Remove the roaster from the oven.
Allow the tenderloin to sit in the roaster for about 5-7 minutes, then move it to the cutting board to rest for at least 10 – 15 minutes more. This will help with the settling of the juices inside the meat, it will also help when you go to cut it so the pastry does not tear so easily. While your meat is resting, you can be finalizing your side dishes, table arrangements or just sit there and smell how good it smells until you finally get to cut into it. Step 15: The last step in the preparation of this amazing meal centerpiece is the cutting of the tenderloin.
The key to cutting a perfect piece is to make sure your knife is extremely sharp. Serrated edged knives are best due to the pastry, however, if you prefer a chef’s knife, sharpen it very well before you cut into this beautiful masterpiece. I prefer to use the tongs when trying to stabilize the tenderloin for the cut of first slice or two. Poking into the crust with the serving fork right off the bat sometimes allows more juices to run out of the meat while you are trying to cut it and the pastry becomes soggy and tears.
So start at the end of your choice and move your knife about 1 to 1 ? inches into the body of the tenderloin. Steady it with your tongs and make one smooth slice from one side of the tenderloin to the other using the full length of the knife, drawing it from the handle down all the way to the tip. Then if you need to go back and slice again, repeat the same step. This will ensure that you are not tearing up the meat or the pastry. This is the conclusion of my special way of cooking Beef Wellington. I hope you will enjoy this dish as much as I have.
Preparing it and eating it are both a joy to me. I hope it will be that way for you also. Never let a cookbook scare you into submission. Everything is worth trying to do when it comes to food. You might have to try some things over and over again to get it just the way you like it. The final product regardless of how many times you made it will be worth it. When your family and friends can’t stop telling you how wonderful it is, you can tell them it was easy and just smile. Who knows you could have a magic touch