How To Make Beef Wellington Recipe
Culinary Basics - Cooking with Puff Pastry Dough
The cooking technique of working with puff pastry dough can be applied to many aspects of the culinary basics.
Puff pastry dough can be used to create wonderful desserts. It can be used as the pastry part of chicken pot pie for instance.
It can also be used as part of one very famous dish - Beef Wellington.
The puff pastry cooking technique can be used with just about anything and there are literally thousands of recipes out there waiting to be discovered - or created.
The main reason for using puff pastry when cooking meats is to preserve the meat's tenderness and juiciness. It can also adds a wonderful presentation to any creation.
This recipe is adapted from Chef Gordon Ramsey's Beef Wellington and is on Simply Recipes. I have a few things I would do or substitute as well.
Beef Wellington - The Recipe
- 1 1-pound beef tenderloin
- Salt and pepper
- Canola or olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms (they used half cremini, half shitake)
- 4 thin slices ham (Parma) or proscuitto - I use proscuitto
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard - I use Dijon
- 7 ounces puff pastry (thaw 3 hours in refrigerator if frozen)
- 2 beaten egg yolks
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in large pan on high. Season the beef with salt and pepper and sear the meat in the pan on all sides until well browned. (This helps lock in the flavor of the beef) Set aside to cool.
- After cooled, brush the beef on all sides with mustard.
- Chop mushrooms and put in food processor. Puree the mushrooms. Pour the mushroom puree into a large saute pan on medium high heat. Let the puree cook down so that the mushrooms release their moisture. When released, let that boil away and set aside to cool.
- Spread a large piece of plastic wrap. Lay out slices of ham or proscuitto on plastic wrap so that they overlap. Spread the mushrooms on top of the ham or proscuitto. Place beef in the middle and roll the mushroom and ham over the fillet.
- Use the plastic wrap to do this tightly. Wrap up the beef in a tight barrel shape - twist the ends of the plastic wrap to secure it. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Roll out puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface - roll out to a size that will wrap around the beef fillet. Unwrap the fillet from the plastic wrap and place in the middle of the pastry dough.
- Brush edges of the pastry with beaten eggs. Fold the pastry around the fillet but cut off any excess at the ends. (Pastry should not overlap because it will not cook through)
- Place the beef wrap on a small plate, seam side down, and brush beaten egg all over the top.
- Chill 5-10 minutes.
- Place pastry-wrapped fillet on a baking pan. Brush the exposed surface again with beaten eggs. Score top of pastry with knife not cutting all the way through the pastry (for vents).
- Sprinkle top with coarse salt if desired. Bake 25-35 minutes.
- Pastry should be golden brown when done. Meat thermometer should register 125-130 degrees.
- Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice in 1-inch thick slices.
- Add herbs such as tarragon and marjoram.
- Cook the mushroom puree a bit longer and add a tablespoon of port and cook down until moisture evaporated. Port gives mushrooms a delicious flavor.
Tips on Using Puff Pastry Dough
- Remove only as many pastry sheets as needed (wrap unused sheets in plastic wrap or foil - return to freezer)
- Refrigerator thaw - Place sheets in fridge and they will be ready for use in about 4 hours. They will keep for up to 2 days.
- An entire package will thaw in the fridge in about 6 hours.
- Refrigerator thawing is the preferred methods by chefs to assure even and complete thawing of the puff pastry dough.
- Quick thaw - Place separated pastry sheets on cookie sheet and cover individually with plastic wrap. Thaw at room temperature about 30 minutes.
- Only use 1 pastry sheet at a time - keep others in the fridge.
- Unfold pastry sheets on a lightly floured board, countertop or pastry cloth. If the pastry becomes too soft, chill in the fridge for a few minutes.
- Pastry dough should be handled as little as possible or it will become tough.
- Cut pastry with sharp knives, pastry wheels or pastry tool.
- Use a fluted ravioli cutter or cookie cutters to shape edges or make decorative changes.
- Seal filled pastries with a mixture of beaten eggs and water (egg wash) between layers - then pinch and press together.
- Roll pastry sheets to 1/4-inch thickness for thin and crisp pastry.
- Bake the prepared sheets in a preheated oven and about halfway through, check progress by peeking through the oven window or open door slightly.
- Using dark glazed baking sheets may bake the puff pastry faster - adjust the baking time.
- If you want the pastry to have a deeper golden brown, brush with egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water just before baking.
- Add chopped nuts, seeds, ground spices or grated cheese to tops for flavor.
- If you want extra-thin and crispy pastry, set a second baking sheet on top of the filled pastry before baking.
- You can achieve a lattice type effect by topping the pastry with a metal cooling rack - turn at a right angle halfway through the baking.
- Remove only as many shells as you are going to use. Rewrap extra in plastric wrap or foil and return to freezer.
- Use pastry shells on ungreased baking sheet with the top facing up.
- Place shells about 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
- Bake pastry shells in a preheated 400 degree oven.
- Never bake shells in microwave or toaster oven.
- Bake shells about 20-25 minutes for golden brown color.
- Use a fork and remove top part and soft pastry underneath. Return shells to bake for 3-5 more minutes for extra crispiness.
- Use the removed tops for a 'lid' or garnish.
- Store unfilled baked shells in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- Recrisp shells by placing in 400 degree oven for 5 minutes.
Martha Stewart's Recipe for Rough Puff Pastry Dough
Makes 2 pounds 10 ounces
- 1 pound 2 ounces all purpose flour, more for work surface
- 1 pound 2 ounces very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup ice-cold water
- Mound flour in center of large work surface and make a well in the middle.
- Place butter and salt in the well.
- Using fingertips, mix ingredients together in the well. Use fingertips and slowly incorporate flour outside well, beginning with the inner rim of the well.
- When cubes of butter have become small pieces and dough is grainy, gradually add ice water until fully incorporated - but take care not to overwork the dough.
- Roll dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap - refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- On lightly floured work surface, roll dough out into a 16 x 8 inch rectangle. Fold short ends over he middle (like a letter) to make 3 layers. This is called the first turn.
- Give the dough a quarter turn and roll away from you into another 16 x 8 inch rectangle. Fold again into 3 layers. This is called the second turn.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap - refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Repeat the process of the first turn and then the second turn (to create the third and fourth turns).
- Wrap dough in plastic - refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days before using.
- Dough can be kept frozen for up to 4 months.
Try collecting cookbooks like the Beef Wellington cookbook. That is how I perfect many of my recipes or learn to tweak them - by having a demonstrative guide in front of me, I find it easier to cook or bake! This is a great book and helps you think of low-budget ways to create fabulous meals as well.
Summing It Up
Cooking with puff pastry is yet another cooking technique to add to your culinary basics when it comes to creating healthy recipes. Puff pastry cooking adds a different and delicious element to cooking and can take a recipe such as beef tenderloin and give it an interesting twist.
Puff pastry cooking in the recipe for Beef Wellington combines an outside 'protectant' or moisture enhancer (the pastry), then adds in the essence of flavor (mustard, herbs, port, and mushrooms) to create a fantastic yet simple dish for special occasions.
The technique is not complicated if you understand it and the prep time minimal for such a delicious end result. Other versions of this recipe add onions or other ingredients - it is all about where your imagination takes you to find recipes you like.
Pork tenderloin baked in puff pastry is equally delicious although the ingredients used are a bit different.
When all is said and done, this is a wonderful cooking technique for meat - but also a great technique for cooking many things.
Try some of the many exciting recipes available on line and in cookbooks. You will be amazed at how cooking in puff pastry dough preserves the tenderness of the meat but also gives it a wonderful texture and flavor with its outside crunchy shell!
© 2010 Audrey Kirchner