Individual Beef Wellingtons

I started thinking about what I wanted to do for special occasions/holidays.  I finally came upon the notion of doing individual Wellingtons in honor of a dear long departed friend who made this festive dish for a crowd years ago.  After some searching, I finally came across Chef Gordon Ramsay’s version.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLr9_-tVyWbsk6LCowfwYllrPZ5t0wcLSU&v=FS8u1RBdf6I%5D

The online recipe can be found here:  http://gourmetguys.co.za/christmas-beef-wellington-recipe-gordon-ramsay/

…and here it is with my changes.  It turns out that the butter and white wine are never used.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get my hands on chestnuts for this first trial run back in early Dec 2013.

Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas Beef Wellington Recipe with Chestnuts
Serving: 4-6
Ingredients:
Beef Fillet    6oz/person (original 1    kg )
Olive Oil    3    tablespoons     (I used rice oil here)
Chestnut Mushrooms    250    g    (aka 20 oz of baby portabellos)
Butter    50    g    
Chestnuts    100    g      (for now)
Fresh Thyme    1    sprig    (or 1/8 teaspoon dried)
Parma Ham Slices    12
Dry White Wine    100    ml 
Puff Pastry    500    g
Flour    1    tablespoon (Chef Ramsay doesn’t roll out his puff pastry in the video)
Egg Yolks    2
Water    1    tablespoon
Hot English Mustard    1    tablespoon
Garlic    1    clove    (this I grated for the duxelle)
Salt & Pepper    1    pinch
Flaked Salt    1    teaspoon

puff pastry for the wellingtons

puff pastry for the wellingtons

mustard for the seared filet mignons

mustard for the seared filet mignons

filet mignons for the wellingtons

filet mignons for the wellingtons, seasoned with 4:1 salt/pepper mix

prosciutto for a wellington

prosciutto for a wellington

grated garlic for the duxelle

grated garlic for the duxelle

salt/pepper for the duxelle

salt/pepper for the duxelle

1/8 teaspoon of dried thyme then ground

1/8 teaspoon of dried thyme then ground


Method:

1 . Sear the fillet of beef in a frying pan with hot oil.

searing a filet mignon

searing a filet mignon

2 . Once seared, remove and brush on some English mustard

english mustard painted onto the filets

english mustard painted onto the filets

For the duxelles
1 . Into the blender, 700g baby bella mushrooms, a garlic clove, salt & pepper then blitz.

20 oz cremini mushrooms

20 oz cremini mushrooms

mushrooms broken up in the food processor

mushrooms broken up in the food processor with the garlic, salt/pepper

2 . Crumble in the chestnuts and blitz some more
3 . Transfer to a hot dry pan and cook for a few minutes to remove the moisture – this was at least 7 mins

mushrooms cooking down in the pan

mushrooms cooking down in the pan

4 . Add a few leaves of fresh thyme

dried ground thyme added when there's just a touch of liquid left

dried ground thyme added when there’s just a touch of liquid left

completed duxelle, cooling to room temperature

completed duxelle, cooling to room temperature

Assemble your Beef Wellington
1 . Overlap two pieces of cling film over a large chopping board.
2 . Lay the Parma Ham on the cling film, slightly overlapping, in a double row.
3 . Spread half the duxelles over the Parma then sit the fillet on it and spread the remaining duxelles over.

Setting up the first wellington

Setting up the first wellington

4 . Use the cling film’s edges to draw the Parma Ham around the Fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of cling film to tighten it as you go.

Wellingtons encased in duxelle, ham and plastic wrap, ready to chill

Wellingtons encased in duxelle, ham and plastic wrap, ready to chill

5 . Chill the fillet in the fridge for 15 minutes

Getting ready to roll out the puff pastry

Getting ready to roll out the puff pastry

6 . Roll out the Puff Pastry on a lightly floured surface. Chef Ramsay doesn’t do this in the video!

Rolled out some of the puff pastry

Rolled out some of the puff pastry (ugh)

7 . Place the Fillet in the centre of pastry (remove the cling wrap first!)
8 . Carefully lift and roll the fillet with pastry over the fillet.
9 . Trim any excess pastry so that there is no double layer of Pastry.
10 . Pinch and seal the edges.
11 . Roll in cling film and shape well.

salt for the pastry crust

salt for the pastry crust

what the flaked salt looks like

what the flaked salt looks like

12 . Glaze all over with more egg yolk and, using the back of a knife, mark the beef Wellington with long diagonal lines taking care not to cut into the pastry.

Wow - I actually got them wrapped properly, scored, brushed with egg wash and salted!

Wow – I actually got them wrapped properly, scored, brushed with egg wash and salted!

13 . Score & salt the top of the pastry well and follow the cooking instructions below.

Cooking your individual Beef Wellingtons
1 . Pre heat oven to 200°C (this is about 392 degrees F)
2 . Cook until golden and crisp – 20-25 mins for medium-rare beef, 30 mins for medium.
3 . Allow to stand for 10 mins before serving in thick slices.

It cooked ok; but leaked on the bottom!

It cooked ok; but leaked on the bottom!

I found that cooking this for 30 minutes in my oven resulted in a medium well doneness.  I’d opt for 25 minutes for the medium doneness.  I made one other major observation: the instructions call for rolling out the puff pastry, which I did the first time – that was a mistake.  The puff pastry ended up being too thin. As a result, the bottom was too soggy and my first attempt at the wellington actually leaked!  If you watch the video of Chef Ramsay doing it, he doesn’t appear to roll out his puff pastry.

Cutting into the wellington.  Nice crispy sound when cut top to bottom

Cutting into the wellington. Nice crispy sound when cut top to bottom

One other thing I noticed from the video; when Chef Ramsay scores/marks up his pastry before putting it in the oven to cook. Chef Ramsay appears to mark up the pastry where the pastry seam is and apparently cooks the pastry seam-side up!

So I planned on redoing this dish as soon as I got the chance. This time, I’d  omit rolling out of the puff pastry dough and using the shorter cooking time and the smaller amount of filet mignon for a special occasion meal (4 oz/wellington as opposed to the 6 the first time around). When I pulled the first version out of the oven – my wife and I both looked at each other in astonishment at how large the individual wellingtons appeared.  I’d also made one more change – I substituted shiitake’s for portabello’s to up the umami quotient in the dish.  Putting it all together – here’s how it turned out –

A completed wellington that didn't leak during cooking!

A completed wellington that didn’t leak during cooking!

My wife did make a pointed comment – she felt that the prosciutto I used for the dish was a little heavy on the salt; so if I ever make this again, I’d probably substitute in paper thin slices of the Niman Ranch Jambon Royale for the prosciutto.

Update (21 Aug 2014)

Epicurious (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fillet-of-Beef-Wellington-10776) suggests the classic sauce to pair with Beef Wellington is a Madeira reduction, as opposed to Chef Ramsay’s Shallot Red Wine Reduction.

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