Individual Beef Wellingtons
The origin of the Beef Wellington is unclear. So as not to perpetuate any unsubstantiated theories, I will only impart from whence the idea was first introduced to me personally; by Chef Gordon Ramsay on Food Network Television. One thing that is clear, though this is a French recipe, Filet de Bœuf en Croûte, it seems to have been officially adopted [stolen and renamed] by the English. So, it makes sense that an English Chef [who did train in France for a few years, um hmm] features this traditional fare on more than a few of his many television series’ and episodes. Anyway, wherever it came from, I am a sucker for tender, rare beef. Wrapping anything in rich, buttery puff pastry can only serve to improve it’s contents in my opinion, let alone encapsulating a good cut of well seasoned meat. I broke from tradition and modified the ingredients to better suit my taste, forgoing pate and horseradish, and made individual wellingtons with tenderloin filets instead of a whole tenderloin roast. Despite the various steps and lavish finished appearance, they are quite simple to make. Beef Wellington is a perfect Fall [and Winter] dish; comfort food epitomized. The following is my version of Individual Beef Wellingtons and serves four. I paired mine with roasted garden yukon gold potatoes and maple candied carrots. You can serve horseradish on the side (traditionally, the meat is rubbed with it during assembly before baking). You could skip sides altogether, as I have never been able to finish a whole individual Wellington. It really could stand up as its own meal-in-one dish.
4 – 1.5” filet mignon steaks (adjust accordingly if making 2 or another quantity)
½ pound button mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped, for duxelles (yep, that’s French)
1 to 2 clove(s) garlic, depending on your taste, crushed
1 package (or at least 8 sheets) prosciutto
Thyme (fresh chopped is preferred, but dried will suffice)
¼ cup good red wine (optional)
Puff Pastry Dough (home made or store bought (defrosted)
1 egg, beaten with splash of water
Bring steaks to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter together in a skillet until butter is melted. For the duxelles, add finely chopped mushrooms and cook over medium heat for approx. 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon of thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook for approx. 5 more minutes. Add red wine, stir, remove from heat and let cool. Drizzle steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Rub the meat so it is evenly coated. Heat skillet over high heat. Add steaks to very hot pan and cook for 2 minutes each side (to sear/caramelize). Use tongs and sear the sides of each steak. If you like your meat rare, don’t cook for too long, but if you like it more well done, cook it for a few more minutes. If you cook it too long though, it will become too tough to slice the wellingtons nicely when packaged in delicate puff pastry. Once seared, remove from heat. Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface until approx. 1/8” thickness. You will need approx. 6” x 6” rectangle for each steak. Once rolled out and sectioned, place 2 to 3 sheets of prosciutto so that they overlap, but don’t meet the edges of the puff pastry, in the center of the rectangle. Divide the duxelles (mushroom mixture) evenly so that you have an equal amount for each wellington. Spread this on the prosciutto so that it doesn’t quite meet the edges of the prosciutto. Place a filet mignon in that centre and pull the dough up and over the meat so it is wrapped tightly (be careful not to pull it too hard or it will tear). Tuck the ends together to seal it.
Turn the sealed end over (the bottom) and place it on a parchment lined backing pan. Repeat until all wellingtons are wrapped. Cut a small crisscross on the top of each for venting. Brush each wellington with egg wash.
Bake for approximately 15 to 25 minutes, or until puff pastry is fluffed and golden. Mine took just over 20 minutes, but ovens vary. Keep a close eye on them after the 10 minute mark and check frequently. When the puff pastry looks ready, remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with or without your desired side(s) and condiment(s).