Beef Wellington has been around for long enough that you’ve definitely heard about it. But have you tried it? Have you put off making it yourself because tender beef rolled in pate, mushrooms, and pastry sounds too ambitious? Fear not. This luxurious party centerpiece is actually pretty easy—but we won’t tell your guests if you don’t.
The enduring popularity of this dish—a fillet of beef tenderloin coated with pâté de foie gras and a duxelles of mushrooms that are then all wrapped in puff pastry—is legendary. It has remained a favorite in Britain and the U.S. for over a century ever since it was created to honor the Duke of Wellington, a hero of the Napoleonic Wars.—Gourmet
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Beef Wellington FAQs
What kind of mushrooms should I use in this recipe?
We suggest that you use (obviously!) mushrooms that you like the taste of. More than that, however, we’d encourage you to use a blend such as a mixture of cremini, white, shiitake, chanterelles, or oyster. The slight variation in flavor and texture will just make the dish that much better.
Do I really need a pound of puff pastry to cover my beef Wellington?
Yep, you really do. A 16-ounce (1 lb) package will give you enough puff pastry to cover your slab of beef plus a little extra for decorations. The reason that we mention this is because some brands only come in 12-ounce packages, meaning that you’ll have to buy two. Better safe than sorry, darling.
- One (3 1/2-pound) fillet of beef tied with thin sheets of larding fat at room temperature
- 3/4 pound mushrooms finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 pound pâté de foie gras (available at specialty foods shops), room temperature
- 1 pound thawed puff pastry plus additional for garnish
- 1 large egg white beaten
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water for egg wash
- 1/2 cup Madeira
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot dissolved in 1 teaspoon cold water
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped black truffles (available at specialty food shops)
- 1 bunch watercress
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Place the fillet in a roasting pan and roast until a thermometer registers 120°F (50°C), 25 to 30 minutes. Let the fillet cool completely, about 45 minutes. Discard the larding fat and strings. Skim the fat from the pan juices and reserve the pan juices.
- In a heavy skillet, cook the mushrooms in the butter over medium-low heat, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Dump them in a bowl or spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.
- Spread the fillet evenly with the pâté de foie gras, covering the top and sides. Spread the mushrooms evenly over the pâté de foie gras.
- On a floured surface, roll 1 pound of the puff pastry into a rectangle about 20 by 12 inches that's large enough to completely enclose the fillet.
- Invert the coated fillet carefully onto the middle of the dough and fold up the long sides of the dough to enclose the fillet. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg white and wrap them around the roast and gently press to seal. Repeat with the ends of the dough to completely conceal the roast.
- Move the fillet, seam side down, to a shallow roasting pan or jelly roll pan, and brush with some of the egg wash. If desired, roll out the additional dough and cut shapes with decorative cutters and arrange the cutouts on top, and brush with the remaining egg wash. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but no more than 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Roast the fillet for 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 350°F (180°C) and roast for 5 to 10 minutes more or until a meat thermometer registers 130°F (55°C) for medium-rare. Remove and let stand for 15 minutes.
- In a saucepan, boil the reserved pan juices and Madeira until the mixture is reduced by about 1/4. Add the arrowroot mixture, beef broth, truffles, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over moderate heat, stirring (being careful not to boil) until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Loosen the fillet from the jelly roll pan, transfer it with two spatulas to a warmed platter and garnish with watercress. To serve, cut the fillet into 3/4-inch-thick slices, dress with the sauce.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I have always had a serious weakness for beef Wellington and this recipe certainly didn’t disappoint. The instructions were clear, and the cook times perfect for a medium-rare roast that would make a stunning main at any dinner party. It’s a bit of a splurge, but worth every penny.
The initial roast of the meat was accurate at 25 minutes to get a temperature of 110°F (we went a little lower than suggested as we prefer a more rare roast and ultimately this gave us a perfectly medium-rare roast in the end). The meat took 45 minutes to cool and I got 3 tbsp of pan juices.
I served it with roasted potatoes and green beans. A feast!
I feel like beef Wellington is one of those classic dishes that we all know but rarely, if ever, make ourselves. At least I haven’t…so what better time to try it out than Christmas? Overall, there isn’t much that can go wrong here–beef with the fois gras, buttery mushrooms, and puff pastry is a rich and lovely bite fit for a holiday table.
It took me a little longer to get the beef cooked on the initial round, probably because I roasted it straight out of the fridge, probably 35 minutes or so.
The only change I was dying to make was to add some garlic to any stage of this recipe…even if it was just to the sauce!
Originally published May 5, 1999