Beef Wellington

People always ask me if I watch cooking shows, and whether I would ever want to go on a show.  The answers are, respectively, “sometimes” and “never.”  There are a ton of interesting cooking shows out there.  I’m not opposed to them.  But the truth is that I can’t always relate to them.

My kids love these shows, including Chopped.  My kids would also love to see me battle it out on TV for a title or cash prize.  I think that they love the challenge, they love to judge, and they probably are way more competitive than I am.  And when they watch one of these shows, they frequently will challenge me about whether I can make something that the on-screen contestants are cooking up.  This is what happened with this Beef Wellington recipe.  I blame Gordon Ramsey.

Beef Wellington was a recipe challenge on MasterChef Jr. several months ago.  Beef Wellington is a signature dish for Ramsey, that guy just loves it and is not shy about sharing that.  Ramsey challenged a bunch of kids to make his recipe for this dish, and my boys were in awe.  Primarily by the deliciousness of the recipe.  Who would not love a filet coated in herbed mushrooms, and wrapped in delicate flaky pastry crust?  But they also loved the thought that young kids could do this successfully.  I agreed.Beef Wellington puff pastry

We all eagerly watched as these 8-12 year-old-kids cooked their butts off.  The results were surprisingly good.  In fairness to anyone who tries this recipe, it is not easy by any means.  The kids on MasterChef Jr. were prepped a bit in advance, the only way to make the entire process capable of being filmed.  This recipe is not impossible: there are shortcuts (such as not making your puff pastry) but it takes some time, some skill, and some luck.

So after watching the show, my boys challenged me to make a Beef Wellington.  This is a dish I had probably only made a few times before, a very long time ago.  Not sure what my actual options were, I accepted the challenge.  And so here you have it: my Beef Wellington.  Although this is not perfect, thankfully it worked out well enough.  And for now, despite me not competing on a national cooking show, my boys believe in me!

Making puff pastry is not easy.  It takes time, patience, and precision.  In all honestly, unless you are a huge pastry person who loves to cook, I don’t advise it.  With all the effort it takes, it can be disappointing if you make it and it does not work out well.  That said, Dufour makes a great frozen puff pasty that I use often and highly recommend.  It’s not cheap, but it is a good-quality, time-saving alternative. Pepperidge Farm makes a less expensive version that I have used and don’t like as much, but it’s an option as well.
Beef Wellington mushrooms

Mushroom duxelles or simply duxelles as it’s typically called is an important component of Beef Wellington.  Duxelles is a finely minced mixture of regular button mushrooms, onions or shallots, and herbs such as thyme, parsley, and black pepper, sautéed in butter and reduced to a paste. I vividly remember learning how to make this in culinary school.  I was surprised how something that seemed so simple was harder than I thought, primarily because most people don’t know how to cook mushrooms. You need the water in the mushrooms to evaporate, which shrinks them and intensifies their flavor. This is critical. Doing this often requires a few things: good heat control and infrequent stirring.

Depending on what you are making with the mushrooms you either use a quick high-heat method or a slow-low heat technique. Making solid duxelles in this recipe is key: you don’t want moisture, as it will make your dough mushy.  You can also choose to wrap your filet in bacon/pancetta.  Some recipes call for it, but I tend not to use it.  This recipe is not for everyone, it’s tricky, but it can be a wonderfully impressive dish served at the holidays.  So if you’re still looking for something special to make this Christmas, give this some serious thought, I don’t know many that would pass up some Beef Wellington.

Beef Wellington

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

3 thoughts on "Beef Wellington"

  1. Avatar photo Stephanie Chen says:

    My kids love Masterchef Junior as well and will be so impressed that you crushed the challenge! Looks amazing!

    1. Thanks Steph. I do love your kiddos 🙂

  2. Avatar photo Renee Despins says:

    Another wonderful recipe from you Chef/Mom/Blogger! It looks so good I can almost taste it as I read the recipe.

    You and your boys would make an ideal cooking show. Now that’s food for thought! Break a leg!

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