I love making foods that look very impressive but actually aren’t too complicated to make. One of my favourite main course meat dishes is a Beef Wellington. It looks like a present – all inviting and ready to be opened. Once opened it reveals itself as a succulent piece of meat.
There are many theories about the origins of the recipe and name for this dish. The most common, but least likely due to lack of proof is that it is named after the famous Duke of Wellington. The French already had a similar dish called ‘filet de boeuf en croute’, but after Wellington defeated the infamous Napoleon in 1815, it is claimed the popular dish was renamed to celebrate the victory against the French. The least popular theory for the British, is that the name originated from America in the 60s as appears in many cookbooks from that era. I know which theory I prefer…
I began making this dish after seeing it being made on the Great British Bake Off a few years ago. There are elements of it that could potentially lead you to failure, but if you know the tricks then failure isn’t really an option. I remember youtubing Beef Wellingtons a few times to get some tips about the perfect way to make it. I feel rather confident that I have come up with a very good and easy recipe.
The key to the success of a Beef Wellington is to keep all the ingredients cold before wrapping it all up. Pasty melts if it comes into contact with hot or warm ingredients and that can ruin this perfect dish. So the idea is to cook the meat the night before, as well as frying over the mushrooms and onions, ideally putting them in the fridge to really get cold. In addition, try to drain all juices made from the meat and vegetables as the last thing you want is a soggy bottom.
This is really one of my favourite dishes, so enjoy having a go!
4lb of good quality cut of meat
2tbls of brandy/liquor – whatever you have
Sprinkle of pepper
500g puff pastry
Half an onion diced
10 button mushrooms sliced
1 tblspn olive oil
Meat seasoning of choice
150g pure chopped liver – ideally homemade. (optional- but so worth it!)
1 egg whisked to seal pastry
- Place the meat in an oven proof tray, pour over liquor and sprinkle pepper then pop in the oven on 180 for 2 hours. Once cooked remove from oven and allow to cool completely. This could be done the night before in order to ensure it has fully cooled down.
- Fry over onions and mushrooms on a high heat to stop much juice being produced. Add in meat seasoning of your choice to the onion and mushroom mix once cooked. Set aside and leave to cool completely. Again this could be prepared the night before.
- On a lightly floured surface roll out puff pastry – not too thin! But long and wide enough to be able to wrap up the meat.
- Spread chopped liver thinly on pastry and spread onions and mushrooms on top.
- Then place meat in the middle of the pastry and fold over pastry as though you were wrapping a present. To help seal the pastry, spread egg mixture with a pastry brush.
- Carefully transfer sealed meat on to a baking tray with baking parchment, with the sealed lines on the bottom.
- With remaining egg, carefully glaze the pastry.
- Place in the oven on 180/190 for 30-45 minutes till pastry is crispy. Watch carefully to ensure no leakages happen.
- Remove from the oven.
First published on Arutz Sheva http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Blogs/Message.aspx/7629#.ViNWw01dGP8