Monday, January 3, 2011

Test: Gordon Ramsay's Beef Wellington

The inspiration to make beef wellington came to me a few weeks ago at Nigel's work Christmas party (a gorgeous affair at the National Gallery!). At the party, one of the hors d'oeuvres was mini-beef wellington, and I scarfed down at least three of them. They were so delicious, I got it stuck in my head that I needed to make beef wellington.  So, we decided to test the famous Gordon Ramsay Beef Wellington recipe from BBC's Good Food for our New Year's Day dinner. This dish is very time consuming, and therefore, should really be saved for special occasions. Apparently, it can even be made up to 24 hours ahead of time. It was absolutely delicious though. I even ate the mushroom duxelles, and I hate mushrooms. We served the beef wellington with buttermilk mashed potatoes.

Tips: depending on the thickness of your meat, you may need to cook it a bit longer. Our meat was very thick and the 15 minutes plus 25 minutes left it too rare for our taste. Using a meat thermometer can help. 

Gordon Ramsay's Beef Wellington
(Takes 2-4 hours to prepare)

a good beef fillet of around 1kg/2lb 4oz (we used Eye of Round)
3 tbsp olive oil
250g chestnut mushrooms , include some wild ones if you like
50g butter
1 large sprig fresh thyme
100ml dry white wine
12 slices prosciutto
500g/1lb 2oz pack puff pastry , thawed if frozen
a little flour , for dusting
2 egg yolks beaten with 1 tsp water

1. Heat oven to 425F. Sit the beef on a roasting tray, brush with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with pepper, then roast for 15 mins for medium-rare or 20 mins for medium. When the beef is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven to cool, then chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.

2. While the beef is cooling, chop the mushrooms as finely as possible so they have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor to do this, but make sure you pulse-chop the mushrooms so they don't become a slurry.

3. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil and all the butter in a large pan and fry the mushrooms on a medium heat, with the thyme sprig, for about 10 mins stirring often, until you have a softened mixture. Season the mushroom mixture, pour over the wine and cook for about 10 mins until all the wine has been absorbed. The mixture should hold its shape when stirred. Remove the mushroom duxelle from the pan to cool and discard the thyme.

4. Overlap two pieces of cling film over a large chopping board. Lay the prosciutto on the cling film, slightly overlapping, in a double row. Spread half the duxelles over the prosciutto, then sit the fillet on it and spread the remaining duxelles over. Use the cling film's edges to draw the prosciutto around the fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of cling film to tighten it as you go. Chill the fillet while you roll out the pastry.

5. Roll out a third of the pastry to a 18 x 30cm strip and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Roll out the remaining pastry to about 28 x 36cm. Unravel the fillet from the cling film and sit it in the centre of the smaller strip of pastry and brush the pastry's edges, and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet, with beaten egg yolk. Using a rolling pin, carefully lift and drape the larger piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing well into the sides. Trim the joins to about a 4cm rim. Seal the rim with the edge of a fork or spoon handle. 

6. 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. Chill for at least 30 mins and up to 24 hrs. Heat oven to 400F. Brush the Wellington with a little more egg yolk and cook until golden and crisp - 20-25 mins for medium-rare beef, 30 mins for medium. Allow to stand for 10 mins before serving in thick slices.


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