Beef Wellington is an exquisite English cuisine fit for the royals, imperials and dukes dating back as early as 1899. It is a steak or beef fillet enclosed with Duxelles enveloped with puff pastry, baked, and served with a Truffle or Madeira sauce.
Primarily, it is assembled from using a “Center-cut” Tenderloin Steak coated with Pâté (a.k.a Pâté de foie gras) and Duxelles, wrapped in puff pastry, baked and served with Madeira sauce. While other recipes incorporate wrapping the coated meat in a crêpe or parma ham to retain the moisture and prevent the pastry from becoming soggy.
Though the origin of Beef Wellington’s name is unclear, who or where is Wellington actually originated? It is said to be with no definite connection to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. But there were some traces of writings about this dish as early as 1899.
In The Daily Telegraph, Leah Hyslop wrote and observed that by the time Wellington became famous, meat baked in pastry was a well-established part of English cuisine. It was implied that “Beef Wellington” was somehow an adaptation of “Fillet de Boeuf en Croûte” (French Fillet of Beef in Pastry), a trendy European (continental) cuisine”.
In 1903 in the Los Angeles Times, “Fillet of Beef” was mentioned, as well as in 1899, Hamburg-America Line reference menu. It is an Irish dish called ‘Steig Wellington’ (Steak Wellington) that is possibly related. The dates for this are unclear but the Duke was from an Anglo-Irish family.
In a Polish cookbook published in 1910 titled “Uniwersalna książka kucharska” (or The Universal Cooking Book), contained a recipe for Beef Fillet a la Wellington (Polędwica wołowa à la Wellington).
The author, Maria Ochorowicz-Monatowa, who mastered her cooking skills both in Paris and Vienna at the end of the 19th century. She claimed that she got this recipe from the cook of the imperial court in Vienna. She also included “filet à la Wellington” in the menus proposed for the “exquisite dinners“. The recipe is similar to Beef Wellington itself. It is a beef fillet enveloped together with Duxelles in puff pastry, baked, and served with a truffle or Madeira sauce.
It was also mentioned in another cookbook as: “Fillet browned in butter and in the oven, coated in poultry stuffing with dry duxelles added, placed in rolled-out puff pastry. Cooked in the oven. Garnished with peeled tomatoes,lettuce, Pommes château”.
This cookbook is “Le Répertoire de la Cuisine“, a professional reference cookbook published by Théodore Gringoire and Louis Saulnier in 1914.
Cooking Notes: The serving style for Beef Wellington will depend on the kind of your occasion. You may serve it as a whole tenderloin on a platter for a family feast presentation. Alternatively, you may also serve it in a medium/smaller portion (like 3 slices per serving) prior to wrapping the tenderloin and baking.
Beef Wellington Recipe
- 2-pound center-cut beef tenderloin steak*, trimmed
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard*
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 thin slices prosciutto*
- 14 ounces frozen puff pastry*, thawed
- Egg Wash: 1 large egg, beaten + 1tbsp milk
- Flaky salt, for sprinkling
- For Duxelles:
- 1 ½ pounds mixed mushrooms*, roughly chopped
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 1 thyme sprig
- Madeira Sauce (Truffle), recipe below
- You will need: kitchen twines
- Tie the tenderloin in 4 places using kitchen twine. Season it generously with salt and pepper.
- Coat the bottom of a heavy skillet over high heat with olive oil. Once the pan is nearly smoking, sear the tenderloin until it is well-browned on all sides, including the ends (about 2 minutes per side or 12 minutes total). Reserve pan drippings for your Madeira sauce.
- Transfer it to a plate. When it is cool enough to handle, snip off the twine and coat all the sides with mustard. Let the meat cool in the fridge.
- For the Duxelles: Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the mushrooms, shallots, and thyme until they are finely chopped.
- Add the butter to the same skillet (with little pan drippings from beef), and melt it over medium heat. Add the mushroom mixture and cook it until the liquid has evaporated, or about 25 minutes. Careful not to burn it, because you need to dry it, so it won’t turn soggy with the pastry.
- Season it with salt and pepper, then let it cool in the fridge.
- Place plastic wrap down on a work surface, overlapping, so it is twice the length and width of the tenderloin. Shingle the prosciutto on the plastic wrap into a rectangle that is big enough to cover the whole tenderloin. Spread the mushroom mixture evenly and thinly over the prosciutto.
- Season the tenderloin, then place it at the bottom of the prosciutto. Roll the meat into the prosciutto-mushroom mixture, using the plastic wrap to roll it tightly. Tuck the ends of the prosciutto as you roll, then twist the ends of the plastic wrap tightly into a log and transfer to the fridge to chill in order to maintain its shape.
- Heat the oven to 425°F.
- Lightly flour your work surface, then spread out the puff pastry and roll it into a rectangle that will cover the tenderloin, slightly bigger than the prosciutto rectangle. Remove the tenderloin from the plastic wrap and place it on the bottom of the puff pastry. Brush the other three edges of the pastry with egg wash, then tightly roll the beef into the pastry.
- Once the log is fully covered in the puff pastry, trim any extra pastry, then crimp the edges with a fork to seal it well.
- Brush it with egg wash, wrap the roll in plastic wrap to get a tight cylinder, then chill for 20 minutes.
- Remove the plastic wrap, then transfer the roll to a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush it with the egg wash again and sprinkle it with flaky salt. Brush it with the egg wash as many times to get a good deep golden brown color.
- Bake it until the pastry is golden and the center registers 120°F for medium-rare, about 40 to 45 minutes.
- Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving. Pour on Sauce Madeira on top upon serving. Enjoy!
SAUCE MADEIRA RECIPE
Makes 1 scant cup (240ml)
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. flour
- ½ cup meat broth
- 1 tsp soy sauce or Maggi sauce
- ¼ tsp sugar
- ¼ cup Madeira Wine (like Sandeman Fine Rich Madeira or Miles Madeira)
- 1 heaping teaspoon of Sapori di Bosco, Black Truffle*, minced
(Substitute:2 tbsp chopped mushrooms simmered in butter if black truffle is not available.)
- Melt and brown the butter, and stir in flour. Blend well, and add broth, truffle, soy sauce.
- Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until well thickened.
- Add Madeira and sugar and simmer for another 15 minutes. If too thick, adjust by adding little by little broth.
- To make a smooth sauce, blend the sauce using a blender or food processor.
YOU MAY ALSO TRY OUR:
*(This is an affiliate link: I may earn a little amount when you buy from this link connected to the seller).