Sunday, January 2, 2011

01012011 - New Year Eve's Dinner - Beef Wellington

Singlish Swenglish Beef Wellington

This was actually my 2009 resolution - i.e to try making beef wellington after hearing it all the time in Gordon Ramsey's Hell's Kitchen. I don't love the show but I do choose to watch food-related shows most of the time - didn't enjoy his swearing attitude very much to be honest. However, this seems like the perfect dish to bless our friends with for a 3-course New Year Eve's dinner and thankfully, it turn out quite well except the beef is medium rare while I would have preferred it well-done. The prosciutto can be quite salty, so go easy on the seasoning for the mushroom duxelles and try to taste your prosciutto if you can and balance the saltiness for the dish as a whole. Johan loves it though but he knows it's probably going to be a dish I will make only once a year. 

I watched quite a few videos (including Gordan Ramsey's F-word) to be sure of the process, the direction which to place the beef fillet etc and came across this one - which is quite funny, especially the part which involved the fan. Cooking's about trial and error, just don't be afraid to make a mistake :) I got the recipe from BBC's website, so this one is my version with some changes in ingredients

Beef fillet around 1kg
3 tbsp olive oil
250g button mushrooms with some chestnut mushroom
half an large onion
2 cloves of garlic
Some mustard
Salt & pepper for seasoning
50g butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme
100ml white wine
10 slices prosciutto
500g pack puff pastry , thawed if frozen or 1 sheet of fresh puff pastry
1 egg beaten

  1. First, prepare the beef fillet by trimming off any sinews and choosing the part that is a whole, even block that will fit the length of your fresh puff pastry, if using.

    Prepping the beef fillet
  2. Season with salt and pepper while you are firing up a really hot pan to sear the beef. I used a mushroom seasoned sea salt flakes that I got from Ikea, they are really good for roasting chicken too!

    mushroom salt

    seasoning the beef fillet
  3. After searing the beef, bake it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how well you like your beef to be done. This part of the recipe differs from versions you might find on the web but you should note that it is complemented subsequently by a longer or shorter roasting time. For my version, it turned out mostly medium rare which is the way Johan likes it (but not me). For my portion, I might leave it roasting a while more at this stage.

    searing the beef
  4. Place the beef fillet on a rack to rest and smear on the mustard while it's still warm and let it cool while you prepare the mushroom duxelles.

    beef brushed with mustard
  5. Chopped the mushrooms and onions in a food processor but not too finely. You can, of course do it manually but I was making for 12 portions. Watching or reading the tips from the BBC recipe will help at this point too.

    singlish swenglish mushroom duxelle
  6. Heat up 1 tablespoon of butter and add in the mushroom mix. It is at this stage you need quite a bit of patience, the recipe said to fry it until the moisture evaporates and you should get a paste that should hold its shape. I find that it took me longer than 10 minutes, since it was a larger portion but you should really play it by ear and make sure its not wet and definitely not too dry before you add the wine. Just imagine that it will be resting on a layer of prosciutto, surrounding the beef and you wouldn't want the moisture to soak through the pastry.

    singlish swenglish mushroom duxelle

    singlish swenglish mushroom duxelle
  7. When the mushroom duxelles is ready, add the wine and repeat the frying and extend your patience a little more until you reach the same consistency as before. Let it cool before assembling.

    singlish swenglish mushroom duxelle
  8. Prepare a two-layered cling film that is larger than the pastry sheet and overlap the prosciutto carefully in a double row. This part takes some time too because the prosciutto I bought were very thin and already overlapping in the package, so it took sometime to separate them and put them together. There were some parts at the bottom that broke off, but the overall idea is to form a sheet of prosciutto that is larger than your beef fillet when laid vertically between the two rows and it should not have any gap showing since it is supposed to surround the beef fillet.

    prosciutto and puff pastry

    prosciutto double layered for singlish swenglish beef wellington
  9. Spread the mushroom duxelles on the prosciutto layer, you may need the help of a butter knife and your fingers to make it an even, unbroken layer.

    mushroom duxelle on layer of prosciutto
  10. Then lay the beef fillet in the direction as shown in the picture and lift one side of the clingfilm across the beef fillet tightly, then overlap the other side by doing the same so you get a prosciutto-surrounded beef fillet.

    beef resting on mushroom duxelle and prosciutto
  11. Twist it tight like Gordan Ramsey shows in his video and let it chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

    Cling-filmed beef wellington
  12. Spread out the puff pastry on a non-stick surface and brush one side with egg wash, then place the beef roll on, brush egg wash on the other part of the pastry and drap it over the beef roll, making sure there are no air pockets between the pastry and beef roll.

    Ready rolled out fresh puff pastry is nice for beef wellington

    measuring it up Singlish Swenglish Beef Wellington

    Brushing with egg wash Singlish Swenglish Beef Wellington

    Rolling it up Singlish Swenglish Beef Wellington

    Wrapping the roll in pastry for Singlish Swenglish Beef Wellington
  13. Use the handle of a teaspoon and indent the sides of the beef wellington roll. Score the top part with the back of a knife if you wish to be fancy. (I did, haha) However, don't press too hard or you will risk cutting through the pastry layer.

    Scoring with back of knife for Singlish Swenglish Beef Wellington
  14. Place on the baking rack/tray you will be baking it in, and put it back into the fridge to chill for 3 hours, or up to 24 hours.

    Before baking Singlish Swenglish Beef Wellington
  15. Brush it with egg wash when you are going to bake it. Bake it at 200°C for 25-30 minutes, and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing it thickly to serve with mash potatoes and some green things.

    Singlish Swenglish Beef Wellington

    Singlish Swenglish Beef Wellington

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