This recipe serves 6 hungry people and is ample for 4 people if you want left overs.
Ingredients for Beef Wellington:
1kg good beef fillet (get from your local butcher)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
225g chestnut mushrooms
75-100g porcini mushrooms
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
100ml red wine
12-14 slices of prosciutto
2 packs of supermarket puff pastry (thawed)
1 egg yolk (beaten) and a splash of cold water
Ingredients for Shallot & Red Wine Jus:
250g shallots, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400ml red wine
400ml beef stock
2tsp caster sugar
knob of butter
You should always make sure that your butcher has trimmed your meat before you take it home - it's a real pain having to trim and you loose a lot of weight too. There are two schools of thought when it comes to sealing your meat, you can fry or roast. I think it all depends on size and how big your frying pan is and what you want the house to smell like. As the meat is lovely in this dish and a fairly sizable piece, I think it is easier to roast. Therefore, turn your oven on to 220c/gas 7 and heat to temperature.
Put the beef fillet on a chopping board and brush over with a tbsp of olive oil, when salt and pepper, remembering to rub in and to massage the whole fillet, then place in a roasting dish. Pop into the oven for 15 mins for medium-rare or 20 mins for medium. When the beef is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven and place on a clean plate to cool, then chill in the fridge for about 20-30mins.
While the beef is cooling, chop all the mushrooms finely - they want to have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. I wouldn't put them in the food processor unless you have a fairly heavy duty one that has more than a 2 speed control - if you use the food processor, use the pulse function so as to ensure the mushrooms don't become mushy.
Once the mushrooms are neatly chopped, heat the remaining olive oil and butter in a large pan and fry the mushrooms on a medium heat, with the fresh thyme for 10 mins, remembering to stir until the mixture is softened. Pour in the red wine and caster sugar, cooking until all the wine has been absorbed. It is really important that there is no liquid left in the mixture and it should hold its shape when stirred. When you get to this consistency, remove the mushroom duxelle from the pan to cool and discard the thyme.
I have made the mushroom duxelle the day before, leaving them to cool overnight in the fridge but you don't have to do this to make a good Beef Wellington. Right, so now all the elements of the dish have been cooled, so it is now time to construct. Lay out two sheets of cling film on top of each other on the counter and rub them down to make them stick to the counter. Then overlap a further two pieces of cling film. Now lay 12-14 slices of prosciutto onto the cling film, overlapping slightly and making a double row (so 6-7 slices to each row). Now spread the three-quarters of the duxelles over the prosciutto, pressing down carefully making a thin layer. Once this is done, place the cooled fillet over the duxelles and take the last quarter of the mixture spreading it thinly down the centre/top of the fillet. Using the cling film edges, pull the prosciutto up around the fillet tightly on each side and then roll into a sausage shape by twisting the cling film edges as tightly as possible. Put the beef into the fridge to chill.
Assuming you're using pre-made puff pastry, now is a good time to start to make the green bean salad and jus. To start off roughly chop the shallots and saute in a saucepan with a little oil for about 5mins until lightly brown. Keep stirring as you don't want them to stick or burn. Now add in the crushed garlic, seasoning and continue cooking for 2mins. Pour in the vinegar and cook until it has a more syrup consistency, pour in the wine and the stock and reduce by two thirds. At this point, I also put in any juices that have escaped from your resting beef - adds to the lovely flavour. Once you have about 250-300ml of liquid left, drain and then whisk in the knob of butter. This can now sit on the stove until you're ready to serve the Beef Wellington.
So we are on to the home stretch of the constuction. Roll out your pre-made pastry and leave the bottom parchment paper on. Have the low-sided roasting tin that you're going to cook the Beef Wellington in near you. Now, unwrap the cling film from the chilled beef/prosciutto and place in the centre of the pastry. Now un roll out the second pack of puff pastry, beat the egg yolk with 1 tsp water and brush the edges of the pastry, and this is the important bit, egg wash the top and sides of the prosciutto wrapped fillet.
Now carefully lift and drape the second piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing down well on the sides of the meat and where the two pastry pieces meat. Trim the joins to between 3-4cm rim. Seal the rim with the end of a spoon handle (not a fork prong as this just damages the pastry). Once sealed, use the back of a knife to mark diagonal lines across the pastry, making a cross-hatch. Be really careful not to cut through the pastry, if you do, then use a little pressure and the heat of your fingers to seal it again. Then get your pastry brush out again and glaze all over with more egg yolk. Chill for at least 30 mins and up to 24 hours - the longer you chill at this point, the better the outcome will be.
Finally, turn up the heat of the oven to 200C/gas 6 and cook until golden and crisp which is about 20-25 mins for medium-rare beef, 30 mins for medium. Do allow the Beef Wellington to stand for 10 mins before serving in nice thick slices with the warm shallot and red wine jus.