Although we do not know where this well-known dish came from, we do know that it is a holiday showpiece that is not for the faint of heart. Brush the seared tenderloin with mustard to give it an extra layer of complexity. Feel free to use your preferred brand; we favor spicy mustards like dijon or spicy brown mustard.
If you’ve made the decision to prepare Beef Wellington for a dinner party or holiday meal, you’re in for a treat. We’ve broken down this dish step by step so you can serve this holiday centerpiece with all the flavor and no stress, despite the dish’s intimidating appearance. If you’re looking for a stunning dish that will almost certainly make your guests believe you’re an expert cook, try this one. This traditional dish is a no-brainer. Have guests who are vegetarian? Make our adorable mini beet Wellingtons to delight your guests.
First, what exactly is Beef Wellington?
The traditional British dish known as beef Wellington is said to have been created in the 1800s following the Duke of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo. In the middle of the 19th century, the celebratory dish became a classic and became a fancy dish at dinner parties and holidays. Traditionally, the dish consists of beef wrapped in puff pastry and baked in the oven, surrounded by pâté, mushrooms, and some kind of ham.
We’ll start with the tenderloin, which is one of the best cuts of beef ever! Although beef tenderloin is extraordinarily delicious, it is not the most flavorful cut of beef available due to the lack of bones and marbling. As a result, we sear the meat first and season it generously (roughly 1 teaspoon kosher salt per pound). The Wellington’s overall flavor is significantly enhanced by browning the meat on all sides, including the ends.
Also known as the duxelle, are a super savory combination of mushrooms, shallots, and thyme. This combination takes beef tenderloin to a whole new level of umami, as if it already had enough. A word of caution: On this one, you really want to cook out as much moisture as possible, so don’t try to speed up the cooking process. When baking the Wellington, the mushrooms will continue to lose moisture, which could result in a soggy bottom.
In relation to soggy bottoms and how to avoid them, meet your new best friend: prosciutto! Prosciutto gives your tenderloin a little extra protection. In addition to providing a barrier against moisture, it enhances the already delicious meaty flavor. You can easily wrap your tenderloin evenly and evenly spread your duxelle by shingling a layer of prosciutto onto a layer of plastic wrap.
While some people prefer to make their own puff pastry for their Beef Wellington, we have discovered that store-bought puff pastry is not only much more convenient but also extremely delicious in this recipe.
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- 1 (2 lb.) center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- extra-virgin olive oil, for greasing
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 lb. mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- Leaves from 1 thyme sprig
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 12 thin slices prosciutto
- all-purpose flour, for dusting
- 14 oz. frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Flaky salt, for sprinkling
Using kitchen twine, tie tenderloin in 4 places. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Over high heat, coat bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil. Once pan is nearly smoking, sear tenderloin until well-browned on all sides, including the ends, about 2 minutes per side (12 minutes total). Transfer to a plate. When cool enough to handle, snip off twine and coat all sides with mustard. Let cool in fridge.
Meanwhile, make duxelles: In a food processor, pulse mushrooms, shallots, and thyme until finely chopped.
To skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add mushroom mixture and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then let cool in fridge.
Place plastic wrap down on a work surface, overlapping so that it’s twice the length and width of the tenderloin. Shingle the prosciutto on the plastic wrap into a rectangle that’s big enough to cover the whole tenderloin. Spread the duxelles evenly and thinly over the prosciutto.
Season tenderloin, then place it at the bottom of the prosciutto. Roll meat into prosciutto-mushroom mixture, using plastic wrap to roll tightly. Tuck ends of prosciutto as you roll, then twist ends of plastic wrap tightly into a log and transfer to fridge to chill (this helps it maintain its shape).
Heat oven to 425°. Lightly flour your work surface, then spread out puff pastry and roll it into a rectangle that will cover the tenderloin (just a little bigger than the prosciutto rectangle you just made!). Remove tenderloin from plastic wrap and place on bottom of puff pastry. Brush the other three edges of the pastry with egg wash, then tightly roll beef into pastry.
Once the log is fully covered in puff pastry, trim any extra pastry, then crimp edges with a fork to seal well. Wrap roll in plastic wrap to get a really tight cylinder, then chill for 20 minutes.
Remove plastic wrap, then transfer roll to a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with flaky salt.
Bake until pastry is golden and the center registers 120°F for medium-rare, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before carving and serving.