Dining in extra: Beef wellington
A classic dish, perfect for any holiday table.
SERVES 8 TO 10
I feel as though I have perfected this recipe (at least in my eyes). While developing the beef Wellington 101 story when I was a food editor at Martha Stewart Living, I made it at least a dozen times. I have tweaked my final outcome a bit purely to simplify the steps. This classic dish is perfect for any holiday table. Try to buy a piece of beef that is consistently shaped so it will cook evenly.
- 1 2 1/2- to 3-pound center-cut beef tenderloin
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 pound brown mushrooms, stems removed, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup dry sherry, cognac or brandy
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1 package (17 1/2 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 6 ounces duck liver, chicken liver or peppercorn mousse, room temperature
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Sea salt, or coarse salt, for sprinkling (optional)
1. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet (alternatively, use a cutting board with a well for juices). Season beef well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sear beef until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to wire rack until cool enough to handle, at least 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, wipe out skillet and heat butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and any liquid released has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Add sherry and cook until liquid has evaporated and mixture is fairly dry, about 4 minutes more. Stir in parsley and thyme, season well with salt and pepper and cool to room temperature or chill for up to a day.
3. On a lightly floured work surface, overlap 2 sheets of puff pastry by 1/2 inch. Roll out into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle large enough to enclose the beef generously. Spread the top of the tenderloin evenly with half of the mousse and spread half of the mushroom mixture evenly over the top. Carefully invert tenderloin into middle of pastry rectangle, mushroom-side down. Spread remaining mousse on top and sides of tenderloin. Spread remaining mushrooms over top. Fold up long sides of dough to enclose tenderloin, brushing edges with beaten egg to seal. Trim ends if necessary, fold up and seal. Carefully transfer tenderloin, seam-side down, to a baking sheet and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Roll out any extra dough, cut into holly or other shapes if desired and chill on baking sheet with beef.
4. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place a baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven until hot, about 15 minutes. Decorate top of pastry with shaped cutouts if desired; brush with beaten egg. Make 2 to 3 slits in pastry for venting steam. Sprinkle with sea or coarse salt if desired. Carefully transfer Wellington to preheated baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and beef registers 120 to 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer for rare, 130 to 135 degrees for medium rare, 35 to 50 minutes. Tent with foil if pastry gets too brown while cooking. Let rest on a cutting board 10 minutes before carving.