Welcoming 2013 with a Beautiful Beef Wellington

What better supper to welcome in the New Year than with a celebratory beef Wellington?  Probably one of my earliest food memories, I first enjoyed this at my uncle and aunt’s wedding in the stunning setting of St Jean de Luz when I was about 7.  This dish has stuck in my memory as being utterly delicious and is, without a doubt, my most favourite meal.

So, with the start of a very exciting year of adventure for our family we thought we would treat ourselves, and our guests, to this British classic served with a not-so-British, but very decadent, pomme Dauphinoise, wilted spinach with nutmeg and Chantenay carrots.  And a glass of vino, or two.

This recipe is a Torode/Ramsay/Mumma combo which shouldn’t be rushed.  You will most certainly be rewarded when making this with time and love!

Beef Wellington
Serves 4 hungry adults
Prep in 60 minutes, cooks in 32 minutes, plus overnight refrigeration time

Ingredients and suggested quantities:
1-1.2kg beef fillet, Aberdeen Angus if poss
Freshly crushed sea salt and black pepper
4oz unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
10oz chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from storks
3oz porcini mushroom paste (Sainos do a great little jar)
7 slices Parma ham
1 packet of puff pastry
2 egg yolks

Preparation the day before:

1.  Trim the fillet and roll tightly in Clingfilm into a sausage shape and pop in the fridge over night to shape so that when you cook it, it will do so evenly

On the day:

1.  Remove the Clingfilm from the beef and season well with the salt and pepper all over
2.  Melt half the butter in a large frying pan and seal the beef on each side for cut a couple of minutes.  Remove from the pan onto a plate and allow to cool
3.  Put the pan back on the heat with the remaining butter and the crushed garlic.  Add the shallots and soften until translucent.  Then add the chopped mushrooms with freshly ground black pepper and thyme and cook until there is little moisture in the pan.  Remove from the heat, stir in the porcini paste and leave to cool
4.  Roll out 1/3 of the puff pastry into a rectangular shape that is approximately 2cm larger around the edges than the size of the fillet.  Prick all over with a fork and bake at 220c for 12-15 minutes until golden.  This will act as the base upon which your beef will reside later
5.  Lay a large piece of Clingfilm on the kitchen table and lay 5 slices of Parma ham directly onto it, overlapping each piece, which will then be wrapped around the beef
6.  Spread 2/3 of the mushroom mixture onto the top and sides of the cooled beef and turn onto the Parma ham and spread the remaining mushrooms onto the top so that all sides are covered
7.  Now, wrap the Parma around the sides of the beef, using the reserve two slices to cover the gap on the bottom.  Re-cling tightly and return to the fridge for about an hourParma wrapped beef fillet
8.  Roll out the remaining pastry large enough to wrap around the beef fillet
9.  Remove the beef from the fridge and cover in the puff pastry.  Tuck the edges of the pastry under and place on top of the cooked piece of puff pastry so that it is carefully sealed.  Trim off any excess so that it looks neat and then brush with the egg wash until gleaming all over.  Pop into the fridge until you are ready to cook

Beff Wellington

When ready to cook:

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 200c and then cook for 32 minutes if you like it rare.  For medium, cook for 40 minutes
2.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving onto hot plates

Beef Wellington

Although this is clearly not something I would make every day, I do think it should be enjoyed on a special occasion.   I have to say, with this being such a fave for me and my husband, I did feel a bit of pressure to get this right.   And I am happy to admit that I was thrilled with the result.

Beef Wellington

Happy New Year, one and all!  xx

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