Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Perfect Holiday Meal: Beef Wellington

 The toughest part about making this dinner is that everyone likes their meat cooked a certain way. This is one of those times when everyone has to agree on the level of doneness and then deal with it. Some like it barely cooked to the point that its still mooing, while others like it well done. This isn't really one of those roasts for either extreme, but this certainly is a show stopper for your next holiday meal!

Also, 90% of Americans are deathly afraid (not allergic, just afraid) of both mushrooms and pate, don't be. As much as some people might like to think that they can taste the liver in the pate, or the mushrooms, you can't. The flavors blend so nicely together, just like a Caesar dressing with anchovies, you shouldn't taste an overpowerment of one over the other. This is one of those recipes where trying to substitute these items for something else just won't cut it, so friends, don't do it!

Since the beef tenderloin is the most tender part of the cow, it just happens to be one of the most expensive cuts, but if you call around to a few butchers you can find the best price. Last year we went to a local super market and paid about $11.99/lb (maybe even more), but this year I went to a butcher on Route 1, Hilltop Steakhouse (The HUGE neon cactus) and paid $8.99/lb. The roast still cost almost $60. After seeing how much this made, I would cut it down to maybe a 4 lb roast, but this did make excellent leftover sandwiches.

Beef tenderloin ( I used a 6 lb roast)
1 package white button mushrooms, chopped fine
1 large onion chopped fine
8 oz pate
Red Wine (just a splash)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 package thawed puff pastry
1 egg
Salt n Pepper

1. Heat oven to 425. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the roast and place in a baking dish. Place tenderloin into the over for about 40 minutes. You can baste the loin with the rendered fat and juices. Because my family like their meat barely pink, I left mine in the oven for much longer at a little bit lower temperature. Once the loin is cooked, place it somewhere cool to rest and go on to the next steps.
Roasted to medium rare and cooling (don't throw out the bits at the bottom!)

2. In the mean time, melt the butter in a pan and saute the onions and mushrooms. Cook these until all of the liquid evaporates. Also, this is where you will want to add your splash of wine. Season with salt and pepper. This is called "duxelles" or in my world, mushroom mixture. :-D

3. Prepare the puff pastry. Sprinkle a bit of flour over your counter top and roll out, then place on an unbaked cookie sheet. Once the meat has cooled, place it in the center of the pastry.

4.  Spread your pate evenly over the whole roast. Then add the mushroom mixture (duxelles). Roll out the second sheet of pastry and gently place over the top and crimp the edges. However! My tenderloin roast was split into two (by the butcher, I didn't know), and each roast fit perfectly inside each puff pastry, so we actually had two beef wellingtons. 

5. Brush the beaten egg over the top of the wellington and bake in the oven at 425F for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350F and bake for another 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Pate: You can really use any kind of spreadable pate you can find. I used a delicious one that I got at Market Basket for $4.69 and included truffles (Hey no one ever said this dish was cheap!).

Mushrooms: Use any kind you like, really. You can mix and match, I am sure they would all taste great! However, the reason I used button is they are the cheapest and you don't exactly taste them since they are finely minced.


  1. That looks perfectly cooked and delicious!!!

  2. It was really good. It was also a surprise because I bought the "roast" which meant the butcher took a large piece, cut it into two and then wrapped it in the netting. I didn't realize this til I cooked it and it split, so I made two wellingtons! Yumm

    Also, looks like I forgot to mention. With the browned lovely on the bottom, I used it to make gravy with beef stock and red wine. It was pretty good, not that this tender cut needs gravy but can't let it go to waste!