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
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
1 . Sear the fillet of beef in a frying pan with hot oil.
2 . Once seared, remove and brush on some English mustard
For the duxelles
1 . Into the blender, 700g baby bella mushrooms, a garlic clove, salt & pepper then blitz.
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
4 . Add a few leaves of fresh thyme
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.
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.
5 . Chill the fillet in the fridge for 15 minutes
6 . Roll out the Puff Pastry on a lightly floured surface. Chef Ramsay doesn’t do this in the video!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
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.