The centrepiece of our holiday menu in the November 2012 issue (pick up your copy on Eastern newsstands October 9th and Western October 15th), Beef Wellington is the most regal of roasts. As I was developing the recipe, I took photos of the assembly to help guide readers who want to tackle this classic dish. While it takes a bit of time and effort, the results are more than worth it, as it’s hard to imagine a more delicious way to enjoy beef tenderloin.
1. Season then quickly sear the beef, a 3 lb. centre-cut tenderloin roast. The browning adds a layer of flavour and it firms up the roast for wrapping.
2. Lay out two sheets of plastic wrap in an overlapping rectangle. On top, arrange a rectangle of overlapping prosciutto slices big enough to wrap the beef.
3. Spread out the mushroom mixture — called duxelles in French — leaving a border around the edge. The prosciutto helps wrap an even layer of duxelles around the beef and keeps the meat from turning the pastry soggy. The combination of cured ham and earthy portobellos gives the dish a one-two punch of umami.
4. Place the beef down the middle use the plastic wrap to help guide the prosciutto and duxelles around the beef.
5. Wrap it up like a giant sausage and refrigerate.
6. For convenience sake, I used pre-rolled puff pastry, which I cut and pasted to form a rectangle big enough to wrap the beef. Loblaws sells pre-rolled, all-butter puff pastry under their President’s Choice label.
7. As you can see, chilling the beef helps it hold its shape.
8. Wrap the beef in pastry and seal with egg wash.
9. Place the beef on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill in the fridge, which prevents it from overcooking.
10. Before baking, brush the Wellington with egg wash so it will turn a lovely golden brown. Score it lightly for decoration and poke a few small holes into the top to let steam escape.
11. The rich, savoury aroma of Beef Wellington in the oven will have your guests drooling into their cocktail glasses. Since it’s wrapped in pastry and will continue to cook as it rests, remove it from the oven rather rare.
1-12. Eric Vellend