Richard Holden’s Beef Wellington
This summer we’ve teamed up with trained chef and BBQ master Richard Holden to produce a series of restaurant-worthy recipes to help curb our appetites while in lockdown. From British classics to Mediterranean favourites, Richard’s Lockdown Menu brings the flavours and quality of the foods we’re all missing to our own kitchens.
Ensuring a beef wellington is perfectly cooked for your liking is pretty impossible without cooking by temperature, and it’s a tragedy to cut into it after all of your hard work and discover that it is over or under done. The temperatures for rare, medium and well done beef are 52°C, 60°C and 71°C, but the temperature of the beef continues to rise while it rests, so it’s best to cook it a little under the final temperature that you would like it to be. Richard cooked this tender beef wellington to 48°C to produce the perfect medium rare finish.
1kg centre cut beef fillet
Salt & pepper
For the duxelles
500g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
Knob of unsalted butter
Sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt & pepper
A little freshly grated nutmeg
For the chive pancakes
100g plain flour
2 eggs, large
100ml whole milk
½ packet chives, finely chopped
Salt & pepper
500g all butter puff pastry
2 eggs, beaten
1. Drizzle 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil into a medium roasting tray and season with salt and pepper. Pat the fillet dry and roll in the seasoned oil until coated evenly all over.
2. Heat a frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the fillet. Sear evenly all over to create that beautiful caramelisation and crust. This will take minutes as you are just searing the outside, the inside should still be raw. Remove from the pan and place in the fridge on a plate.
3. To make the duxelles heat a knob of butter and a little oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the thyme and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Cook in batches if necessary but don’t overcrowd the pan. The mushrooms will reduce in size and begin to caramelise, and you need to continue cooking until all of that savoury umami liquid has boiled off and reduced to an intensified flavour that coats the mushrooms. Remove from the pan to a clean plate and place to one side to cool.
4. To make the chive pancakes add the flour to a bowl and crack in the eggs. Whisk until they are fully combined and the paste is thick and smooth. Add half of the milk and whisk gently to loosen the mixture, ensuring it’s smooth before adding the remaining milk. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the chives.
5. Heat a knob of butter with a dash of oil in a frying pan on a medium high heat and add enough batter to coat the base of the pan when swirled around. Flip when golden on the bottom and cook on the second side until golden also. Remove from the pan to a sheet of parchment and place a piece of kitchen paper over to soak up any excess fat. Repeat with the remaining mixture until you have at least 4 pancakes to wrap around the beef fillet. Leave to one side to cool.
6. Flour a work surface and remove the puff pastry from the packet. Flour a rolling pin and begin rolling out the pastry to a rectangle 40cm x 30cm (15in x 1in). Transfer to a piece of parchment and a baking sheet and chill in the fridge until required.
7. Remove the beef fillet from the fridge and brush 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard all over the beef.
8. On a sheet of parchment lay out 3 of the pancakes in a row, the length of the beef fillet plus enough to wrap up each end. Spread two thirds of the mushroom duxelles on the pancakes and place the fillet on top. Spread the remaining third of duxelles on the top of the beef and place the fourth pancake on top. Use the parchment to wrap the pancakes around the fillet and tuck the ends in. Wrap this tightly in clingfilm to hold everything firmly together and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
9. Using the parchment, lift the pastry from the tray and place on a floured work surface. Depending on the size of your beef and its accompaniments you may need to further roll out the pastry so that there is an inch or so overlap once it’s wrapped around the beef. Round off the corners by cutting away the excess to stop the ends being too bulky when all wrapped up.
10. Remove the beef from the fridge and discard the clingfilm wrap. Carefully unwrap the parchment, keeping the pancakes in place around the fillet. Place it in the centre of the pastry and begin to wrap everything up, starting with the long ends first. Make sure the pastry is wrapped tightly around the wellington and seal all edges with a little egg wash. Next bring in the 2 ends, trimming any excess overlapping pastry if necessary, and seal these also with egg wash. Egg wash the outside and to decorate (optional) score the pastry lightly using the back of a paring knife to create a pattern of your choice. Use the sheet of parchment to transfer the whole thing back onto a medium baking sheet and chill for at least an hour in the fridge, or overnight if making ahead.
11. Heat the oven to 220°C fan and place a baking sheet on the middle shelf to preheat.
12. Remove the wellington from the fridge and egg wash one more time. For an intense golden finish separate the yolk and mix with a dash of water and use this to paint on the final glaze!
13. Use the parchment to transfer onto the preheated baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes until the pastry is beautifully golden and crispy and the temperature in the centre of the meat reaches 48°C. If it isn’t warm enough, reduce the oven temp to 200°C and continue cooking a bit longer.
14. Once cooked, leave to rest for 20 minutes then slice to serve the perfect medium rare wellington.
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