If you’re familiar with Beef Wellington, you’re either really old and British or you watch Hell’s Kitchen a lot. This is one of the dishes that makes Gordon lose his shit on the hapless contestants. According to Alton Brown, king kitchen geek, Beef Wellington was big, big, BIG for like a century and a half, then disappeared in the seventies. Who knows? It’s a classy dish, though, no doubt. And surprisingly easy to make. Especially if you follow Gordon’s recipe. (Better get it right, or he’ll flog you with profanities!).
Gordon Ramsay has a half-million dollar kitchen and a production company, plus it’s his recipe, so it makes sense to show you his video. I love how terse that video is. No one can cook from it, but you get an idea at least. Actually, most of his recipes are just as terse; his are definitely not cookbooks for beginners. In fact, I screwed up a recipe just this weekend because he uses temperatures for convection ovens instead of conventional ovens. What a snob, right? It’s right in the name: conventional. As in, everyone uses it. Also, he uses the metric system for cooking temperatures. That’s just wacky. Totally throws me off. I’ve corrected that for you.
Tenderloin is quite pricey, so this is a special occasion dish. Next time you think about going out to celebrate, um, something, stay in and make this: you’ll still come out ahead and without all that driving. Or if you’re looking to impress that special someone, this fits the bill. Especially if they appreciate meat.
I’m all about control, so I bought a whole tenderloin from Costco, trimmed it and portioned it myself (you get way more beef than you need for this meal). If you’re not that fanatic, feel free to buy one from your grocery store (although at a slightly higher price). The recipe in Gordon’s book calls for English Mustard. In Canada, that’s called Hot Mustard. It comes in a tiny little jar. Don’t bother making puff pastry, just buy it. If even Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver say it’s OK to use puff pastry, even I can suppress my geek tendency to do it all myself.
Serves 2 generously
- 750g beef tenderloin
- 3 portabella mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 6 – 8 slices prosciutto or Parma Ham or Serrano Ham
- Hot mustard
- 450g puff pastry
- 2 egg yolks
In a hot pan, colour the beef. Don’t cook it. You want the pan hot, like high heat hot. We’re just looking to caramelize the outside, 30 seconds a side, maybe 45. Place somewhere to rest.
In a food processor, wazz up the mushrooms into a paste. In a hot pan, again, cook some of the moisture out of the mushrooms. Once the big bubbles stop, it’s ready. Take out the paste and spread it on a plate to cool.
Layout plastic wrap on your counter. On the plastic, lay the prosciutto slices in a rectangle sufficiently wide enough for the beef and sufficiently long enough to cover the whole tenderloin, come to that. Spread the mushroom paste over the prosciutto. Brush the beef with the hot mustard. Place the beef at the end of the prosciutto rectangle closest to you. Using the cling film, tightly roll the prosciutto around the beef. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap to tighten it up. Place in the fridge for at least twenty minutes.
Take out the puff pastry and roll it out to a large rectangle. Place the beef in the middle. Brush the remaining pastry with the egg yolk. Fold the pastry over the meat. Turn it such that the seam is on the bottom. Cut off any excess and fold the ends underneath. Place on a baking sheet. Brush with the egg yolk. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Heat the oven to 415F.
Take the wellington out of the fridge. Score the pastry at 1 cm intervals. Brush with the egg yolk once more and in the oven for 20 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 375F for another 15 minutes.
Let it rest for 10 – 15 minutes before serving. Slice in 1 inch-thick slices. Goes with roast potatoes, and a light green salad.