Beef Wellington is a truly spectacular dish for a special occasion, like Christmas dinner. (We made a double batch of this recipe for 14 adults, and had a little left over.) I also have in the blog a simplified version using puff pastry which makes a very nice dinner for two people (Mini Beef Wellingtons )
Beef Wellington is not that hard, and is composed of several building blocks. A duxelles stuffing is made. Beef tenderloin is cut into serving pieces, and then the stuffing is put between the slices. The beef and duxelles is then formed into a cylinder, wrapped in cheesecloth, tied, and cooked until the beef is done to the desired temperature. (I like 131 degrees and using sous-vide equipment vs. roasting in the oven.) In the meantime, a brioche dough is made to encase the beef. Finally, the dough is rolled out, the beef is placed on it and encased, and the whole thing is baked until the bread casing is cooked. By following these discrete steps, both the bread and the beef and stuffing can be perfectly cooked. Finally, the Beef Wellington slices are served with a beef gravy. We made a beef version of Easy Poultry Gravy enriched with some port and Madeira.
The first time we made this, we were living in Tokyo, and our son Nick, who may have been 5 at the time, afterwards asked Carol if he could not have some more of “that meat and bread”. Yes, that is all Beef Wellington is, a fancy and delicious version of meat and bread.
2-1/2 lb. beef tenderloin, cut into 1 inch slices
½ recipe of Pain Brioche Commune
I egg beaten, with 1 tsp. of water for an egg wash
Spread one side of each of the tenderloin slices with the duxelles stuffing, and form them into a cylinder.
Wrap the stuffed tenderloin slices in cheesecloth, and tie with butcher’s twine to form an even cylinder. Put in a gallon ziplock baggie, expell all the air, and cook for 2-3 hours in a sous-vide water bath at 131 degrees. Remove from the sous-vide cooker and cool to room temperature. This step can be done in advance of the rest of the Beef Wellington. (Without a sous-vide cooker, roast the meat in cheesecloth to an internal temperature of 131 degrees.)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If the meat has been prepared in advance, take it out of the refrigerator to warm up. If still in the sealed ziplock baggies, it could be rewarmed in a sous-vide bath.
Divide the dough into 1/3 and 2/3 pieces. On a floured surface, roll the smaller piece into an ovel a bit bigger than the meat cylinder. Unwrap the meat and duxelles from the cheesecloth and put it on the bottom layer of dough.
Roll out the remaining dough to an oval about twice as big as the meat cylinder. Put it on top of the meat, and crimp the edges between the upper and lower layers like you would the upper and lower crusts of a pie. Decorate the surface with any leftover bits of dough. Coat with the egg wash.
Bake for about 30 minutes until the dough is cooked through. Watch it after about 20 minutes. (I am not exactly sure how long I baked this batch.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve by slicing through the dough between the meat slices, so that each serving is beef and duxelles with a rim of bread. Add gravy.